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San Francisco Chronicle: Black History Month 2022: events, performances and more ways to celebrate in the Bay Area

Scroll down to see Art of the African Diaspora at Richmond Art Center listed in the San Francisco Chronicle among many awesome events happening during Black History Month!

Black History Month 2022: events, performances and more ways to celebrate in the Bay Area

Anne Schrager January 31, 2022Updated: February 2, 2022, 3:23 pm

February is officially dedicated to celebrating the legacy of African culture in America. However, with events commemorating the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. starting in mid-January, the San Francisco Public Library programming notes that it’s “More Than a Month.”

As we enter the third year of the pandemic and face other worldly challenges, community members may take pause and look inward, asking what they can do to better confront racism and inequality and take part in making our world a healthier, happier and more peaceful place to live. Through visual art, social action, lectures, performances and more, we can honor the people, events and achievements that originate from the diverse African diaspora.

Here’s how some Bay Area organizations and arts institutions plan to celebrate Black History Month in 2022. Event information is subject to change, so check the venue or organization website for the latest updates.

Meditation in the S.F. Public Library African American Center

Take time each week to build up your mindfulness through weekly secular meditation, hosted by Dennis Billups, blind disability rights activist and contributor to the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp.”

Noon-1 p.m. Wednesdays. Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Free; vaccination proof and masks required. African American Center Exhibit Space, S.F. Public Library, main branch, 100 Larkin St., S.F. 415-557-4400.

“More Than a Month” is San Francisco’s celebration of Black History Month, featuring events and exhibits at the main branch of San Francisco Public Library.Photo: More Than a Month

Marin Theatre Company presents: ‘Pass Over’

Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s acclaimed play about two Black men trapped by fear and confusion, in a world where many of their peers have been killed by police, was originally scheduled to start on Jan. 27 but was postponed. Performances will now begin on Wednesday, Feb. 2, and run through Feb. 20.

Wednesday, Feb. 2. Through Feb. 20. $25–$60; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415-388-5208. 

24th annual S.F. Independent Film Festival presents: ‘The Sleeping Negro’ and ‘Across’

Filmmaker Skinner Myers presents a tale focused on a young Black man who struggles for self-peace after committing fraud under orders from his white boss in “The Sleeping Negro.” This festival opening-night screening is also set to include Matthew Riutta’s short film “Across” and a discussion moderated by San Francisco Examiner race and equity columnist Teresa Moore.

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3. $14-$15; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Available to view online from Feb. 3-10. Roxie Theater House, 3117 16th St., S.F. 

BAMPFA presents: An online conversation with Robert Moses

Join a live-stream discussion from the museum with the Robert Moses Kin director/choreographer. Moses has choreographed for many companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the San Francisco Opera and Lorraine Hansberry Theater, and has taught at festivals and college campuses across the world.

12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4. Free; registration required. 510-642-0808. 

JAZZ@theEDGE! presents: Nicholas Payton Quintet

The Grammy Award-winning trumpet player is set to perform in celebration of his quintet’s 25th anniversary and Black History Month. Featuring saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Adonis Rose.

7 and 8:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Feb. 4-6; 10:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 4-5. $25-$45; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Black Cat Club, 400 Eddy St., S.F. 415-358-1999.

Camille A. Brown & Dancers in “ink,” a work that examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten or silenced.Photo: Christopher Duggan / Hammer Theatre Center

Hammer Theatre Center presents: Camille A. Brown & Dancers

The New York choreographer Camille A. Brown offers a historically informed dance theater piece focused on issues of race, culture and identity.

7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 4-5. $25-$60; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Live-stream viewing option available. Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. 408-924-8501. 

MoAD and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater present: ‘The DePriest Incident’ online reading

Award-winning playwright Charles White’s drama, set in 1929, depicts a Black civil rights advocate elected to represent Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives who stages a debate focused on political strategy practices for social change.

2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Free; donations encouraged. Registration required. Online event. 415-358-7200. 

‍Pear Theatre presents: ‘The Mountaintop’ and ‘Sunset Baby’

Directed by Sinjin Jones, playwrights Katori Hall and Dominique Morisseau’s works address Black activism through the eyes of a chambermaid in 1968 Memphis and a widowed black revolutionary with an estranged daughter.

“The Mountaintop” performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays; “Sunset Baby” at 8 p.m. Saturdays and  2 p.m. Sundays. Friday, Feb. 4. Through Feb. 20. $20-$42; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Live stream available. Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. 650-254-1148.

Flutist-composer Nicole Mitchell will perform at Mills College on Saturday, Feb. 5.Photo: Mills Music Now

Mills Music Now: Nicole Mitchell

Mills College Music Department and the Center for Contemporary Music present a performance from Jean Macduff Vaux 2021-22 composer in residence flutist Nicole Mitchell. Her weeklong residency will culminate in this concert featuring her works with harpist Zeena Parkins.

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Free-$15; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Live-stream viewing link provided on the day of the event. Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 510-430-2191. 

Melvin Seals and JGB

The former Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist and vocalist invites attendees to dance the night away to the jam-band quartet’s good vibes.

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. $65; vaccination proof and reservations required. Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 415-388-3850. 

Jazz saxophonist Kenny Garrett will join Faye Carol at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle on Sunday, Feb. 6.Photo: Geoffrey

Faye and the Folks February Jazz Series

A weekly Sunday concert series celebrating Black History Month will be hosted by vocalist Faye Carol, in collaboration with renowned jazz artists including saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Essiet Essiet, vocalist Kenny Washington, drummer Dennis Chambers, trombonist Steve Turre, flutist Elena Pinderhughes, pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph and others.

6 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27. $40; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, 410 14th St., Oakland. 510-839-4644.

Artist Lava Thomas alongside a print of her work.

Online artist lecture with Lava Thomas

Thomas’ multidisciplinary artworks include drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and installations addressing issues of race and gender and reflecting feminism through the lens of African American protest and social traditions. See her work at Mills College Art Museum in “Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of the Paulson Fontaine Press,” an exhibition on display through March 13. The college also plans to host other Black History Month events online throughout the month. See its website for more information.

7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. Free; registration required. Online event. Mills College Art Museum, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 510-430-2164.

Quincy Troupe in online conversation with Danny Glover & Terry McMillan

Troupe is joined in conversation by actor Danny Glover and best-selling author Terry McMillan in an online discussion moderated by Kim McMillon, celebrating the release of Troupe’s new poetry collection, “Duende: Poems, 1966–Now” (Seven Stories Press). The program will also feature appearances from artist-educator Mildred Howard and musicians Will Calhoun and J.D. Parran.

2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. Free; live stream available on the S.F. Public Library YouTube channel. 415-557-4400.

Zaccho Dance Theatre presents: ‘Love, a State of Grace’

A dance performance installation, with choreography and direction by Joanna Haigood, in one-hour cycles repeated over three hours on each performance date. The program features Bay Area aerial dancers performing to composer Walter Kitundu’s score, which incorporates recorded and live music activation within the space. Theologians Yohana Junker and Cláudio Carvalhaes will offer meditation and small rituals that the audience may engage with as they move freely throughout the cathedral.

1-3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 and Feb. 17; 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12; 7-9 p.m. Feb. 18. $25, vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. 415-822-6744.

‘Reparations’ — an all-Black drag show with Kerri Colby

Nicki Jizz hosts the late-evening show featuring performances from Mahlae Balenciaga, Sir Joq, Dvvsk, bebe Sweetbriar, Alotta Boutte and others with music from Jason Godfrey.

10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. $15-$35; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. S.F. Oasis, 298 11th St., S.F. 415-795-3180.

Freedom Farmers’ Market

Join Oakland in supporting the freedom to choose affordable, local food freshly grown by Black and other underserved farmers.

9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Free, online registration encouraged. 4521 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 510-379-8600.

Pianist Michelle Cann is scheduled to perform as part of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s “American Rhapsody” program at Green Music Hall on Feb. 12-14.Photo: Santa Rosa Symphony

Santa Rosa Symphony: ‘American Rhapsody’

2020 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award winner Aram Demirjian is set to conduct the symphony in a performance of works by American composers Florence Price, William Grant Still and George Gershwin, featuring pianist Michelle Cann. There will be half-hour pre-concert talks with Demirjian and Cann one hour before each performance.

2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 (open rehearsal); 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 and Feb. 14; 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. $10-$97; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park. 707-546-8742.

54th California International Antiquarian Book Fair: ‘Collecting Oakland’s Activist Roots — Black Panthers and Beyond’

As part of the event’s multiday lineup, Black Panther Party archivist, publisher and activist Lisbet Tellefsen and historian/Bolerium Books owner Alexander Akin plan to show and discuss a selection of historical ephemera from past social movements in Oakland. For those who cannot attend in person, a virtual book fair will be available online from 9 a.m. Feb. 12 through 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at

4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Included with admission to the fair. Event hours: 3-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. $10-$25. Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland. 415-919-9220.

SFBATCO Presents: ‘I, Too, Sing America’

Composer Othello Jefferson’s work presents a diverse cross section of people of color in theater, represented through stories focused not on negativity, but rather joy, striving and other positive themes through poetry, music and dance. The program features direction by Jamie Yuen-Shore and choreography from Christine Chung.

8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays; 2 p.m. Saturdays through Feb. 13. $15-$40, vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St., S.F. 415-484-8566.

The Marsh presents: ‘Talk to Your People’

Award-winning actor and playwright Dan Hoyle returns to perform his latest thought-provoking, video- and music-laced comedic performance piece addressing race, power, privilege and masculinity in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.

7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11; 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Through April 16. $25-$100; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia St., S.F. 

10th Annual San Jose Jazz Winter Fest presents: Tiffany Austin

The jazz vocalist will perform with her quartet, featuring drummer Leon Joyce, bassist Marcus Shelby and pianist Adam Shulman. The festival runs from Feb. 11 to 27. See the website for the full performance schedule.

8 p.m. Feb. 17. $25; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Hammer4 Theater, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. 408 288-7557.

​​Brian Copeland: ‘Not a Genuine Black Man’

Told with wit and clearheaded honesty, Copeland’s one-man comedy show confronts what it meant to grow up as an outsider in a largely white Northern California suburb in the 1970s.

2 p.m. Feb. 20. $20, vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Arts and Education Center, 2250 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro. 

Black History Month film screening: ‘Evolutionary Blues … West Oakland’s Music Legacy’

A full-length documentary featuring interviews with artists who played regularly in clubs that used to line the blocks of Seventh Street, before an “urban renewal” plan decimated the formerly musically vibrant West Oakland Black neighborhood. A discussion with the director, Cheryl Fabio, is planned following the screening.

6:30 p.m. Feb. 24. $14; vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Grand Lake Theatre, 3200 Grand Ave., Oakland. 510-452-3556.

SFJazz and MoAD present: Black History Month concert with Martin Luther McCoy

A closing reception for “Amoako Boafo: Souls of Black Folk” and “Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun” exhibitions with a performance from San Francisco native Martin Luther McCoy (the Roots).

4 p.m. Feb. 26. Included with museum admission. Vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S.F. 415-358-7200.

Paradise DuBois at the Black Joy Parade in Oakland in 2018.Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle 2018

Fifth annual Black Joy Parade and Festival

This family-friendly event celebrates joy in  California’s Black community. The festival is set to feature more than 200 local artists, food and drink vendors, live performances, and more.

12:30 p.m. Feb. 27 parade; noon-7 p.m. festival. Free; registration highly encouraged. Parade starts at 14th and Broadway, Oakland. Festival entrance at 20th Street and Broadway, Oakland.

‘Dust Specks on the Sea’: Contemporary Sculpture From the French Caribbean and Haiti

A mixed-media group exhibition focused on sculptural works by contemporary artists from Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Haiti. Curated by Arden Sherman with Katie Hood Morgan and Marie Vickles for Hunter East Harlem Gallery in New York, it includes works from Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Raphaël Barontini, Sylvia Berté, Julie Bessard, Hervé Beuze, Jean-François Boclé, Alex Burke, Ronald Cyrille, Jérémie Paul, Marielle Plaisir, Tabita Rezaire, Yoan Sorin, Jude Papaloko Thegenus and others.

Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Through February. Free, masks required. Walter and McBean Galleries, S.F. Art Institute, 800 Chestnut St., S.F. 415-749-4500.

Museum of the African Diaspora February exhibitions

Soul of Black Folks,” is a solo exhibition of paintings created from 2018 to 2021 by Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. “Thread for a Web Begun” presents Johannesburg artist Billie Zangewa’s first solo U.S. museum exhibition including layered silk tapestry works.‍ The “Beyond the Sky” installation features short films from a selection of contemporary African filmmakers. Films include Kalu Oji’s “Beyond the Moon,” Lebohang Kganye’s “Ke sale teng,” Yo-Yo Gonthier’s “Burey Bambata” and Tabita Rezaire’s “Deep Down Tidal.” Also, 2019-20 Emerging Artist Vincent Miranda’s “Florida jitt,” an exhibition of sculptures, and “Sam Vernon: Impasse of Desires,” a site-specific installation and exhibition of paintings and prints.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $6-$12, under 12 free. Through Feb. 27. Vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S.F. 415-318-7152.

Fan Lee Warren’s “Legacy-B {Migration},” 2015. Acrylic and watercolor on monoprint will be part of the “Art of the African Diaspora 2022” group exhibition.Photo: Art of the African Diaspora/Richmond Art Center

Richmond Art Center presents: Art of the African Diaspora 2022

The 25th anniversary Bay Area Black artists group exhibition features works from more than 100 artists of African descent showcased at the Richmond Art Center as well as in open studios and satellite exhibitions at different venues across the Bay Area. See website for offsite schedule details.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Through March 19. Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond. 510-620-6772.

‘We Are Not Strangers Here: African American Histories in Rural California’

A touring exhibition and education program highlighting the diversity of experiences of African American pioneers, miners, farmers and civic leaders in rural California. An adjacent exhibition also features portraits from the collection of the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, artifacts on loan from the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum and images of rural life during the early years of statehood, courtesy of California State Parks.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Through Aug. 12. Free, masks required. Society of California Pioneers Museum and Library, 101 Montgomery St., S.F. Presidio. 415-957-1849.



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