Roundup of Black History Month events

By Punya Bhasin and Ryleigh Lord

The Pitt News has compiled a list of events occurring on campus and in the city that commemorate Black History Month and highlight the Black community in Pittsburgh. 

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Harlem” play: Feb. 1-19, various times.

Director Justin Emeka retells the well-known Shakespeare play, which “draws upon the art and music of the Harlem Renaissance to inject Shakespeare’s beloved story with new life and humor, contemporary fashions and ancient rituals.” The play is running at the O’Reilly Theater and tickets can be purchased here.

Step out with Step Afrika!: Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

Step Afrika!, the first professional step dance company, is hosting a production at the Byham Theater. Step is a polyrhythmic dance form with roots in Black communities, and their shows “expand on and blend step’s American history with other global influences.” Tickets can be purchased here

“The Chocolate Nutcracker” show:  Saturday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s first all-Black casted “Nutcracker” celebrates the African Diaspora in its showings at The Pittsburgh Project. It highlights African American artists and celebrates different cultures around the world. Tickets can be purchased here.

Virtual film screening of “Descendant:” Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

This is a virtual event where the movie “Descendant” will be screened. In addition to watching the film, registrants are asked to read a selection from Zora Neale Hurston’s “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo.’” Individuals can register for the event here.

Sirry Alang lecture: Feb. 9 from noon – 1 p.m. 

Alang is a professor in the School of Education and the School of Pharmacy. She will present a lecture on the “intersections that matter for healthy equity.” Attendees can register here. The event is available in person in room 2017 on the 20th floor of the Cathedral of Learning or via Zoom.

Screening of “The Battle of Algiers”: Feb 9. from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The University Center for International Studies begins its Race, Rebellion, and Global Solidarity film series with this film that portrays the French-Algerian war. It is widely recognized for its “brutally candid exposé of the French colonial mindset and depiction of the Algerian people’s anti-colonial struggle. The screening is hosted at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium and no prior registration is required. 

Damon Young and Michael Sawyer lecture: Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

The David C. Frederick Honors College is hosting Pittsburgh writer Damon Young, the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker.” The book is a “memoir in essays,” and participants have the opportunity to discuss the book with Young and Michael Sawyer, an associate English professor. The event is in Alumni Hall on the 7th floor. Individuals can register here.

Pitt Performance of “Seven Guitars”: Feb. 17-19 and 21-26.

“Seven Guitars” is the seventh of 10 stories that August Wilson, a Pittsburgh native, wrote about the Black American experience. It tells the story of a blues guitarist and singer who barely gets to experience the success of his career. It is showing at the Charity Randall Theater and individuals can purchase tickets here.

“A Night of Celebration: Honoring the Heroes of Black Resistance” event: Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

Pitt’s annual celebration of Black History Month will take place in Alumni Hall, honoring and recognizing members of the Black community that have created widespread change. The event features speeches from prominent members of the Black community, which have yet to be announced. The University will also present awards to “Pittsburgh-area changemakers.” Pitt is accepting nominations for the awards until Feb. 6. More information is available here.

Open mic night: Feb. 23 from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Center for Creativity and Center for African American Poetry and Poetics are hosting an open mic night to “celebrate Black experiences, joy and resistance.” All Pitt community members are welcome to attend, and students, faculty and staff are encouraged to perform. Registration for the event, which is taking place in the Understory (B-50) of the Cathedral of Learning, is available here.