February is Black History Month, and our calendar is quickly filling up with pop-ups, performances, dinners, and other events celebrating Black excellence. Take a look back at Black achievements in television at the Paley Center or learn about NYC icons at the Green-Wood Cemetery, and see how Black culture flourishes now at a burlesque show or classical music concert. Here are the events we’re most excited about this month—with plenty of good food involved along the way.
Stop by bar and venue Harlem Nights on February 9th for another edition of The Nova Experiment’s Uptown Stripdown. Harlem’s only burlesque show, the event will be hosted by Stella Nova with a cast of Black performers and music from DJ Savoir Faire XL. Your $15 ticket includes automatic entry into a raffle.
The Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum is kicking off the 2023 season of First Saturdays on February 4th with the help of The Lay Out, an event series that aims to reclaim and hold space for the Black community. They’ll be taking over the Beaux-Arts Court from 7-10pm with DJs, live percussionists, and plenty of melanin love. RSVPs are required.
The Bell House
On Thursday, February 23rd, you can drink some cocktails while you get an education (from people who have been drinking) at Bell House in Brooklyn. Drunk Black History, hosted by Brandon Collins and Gordon Baker-Bone, is coming back for another installment, with guest comics and storytellers. The event starts at 8pm, and tickets cost $12 in advance or $20 at the door.
Marcus Samuelsson’s new restaurant Hav & Mar is hosting a dinner series every Monday this month where they’ll be serving a unique prix-fixe menu with ingredients sourced from Black-owned companies. Each dinner will have a guest host, with a lineup including Harlem fashion icon Dapper Dan and Derrick Adams, the artist behind the mermaids you see all around the restaurant. The prix-fixe menu is $85, with optional beverage pairings.
The Green-Wood Cemetery
Hop on a trolley at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery and let historian Jeff Richman walk you through the lives of accomplished Black New Yorkers like jazz pianist Cedar Walton and Jeremiah Hamilton, the city’s first Black millionaire. The trolley ride takes place from 10am to 12pm on Saturday, February 25th, and tickets are $30.
One of the top counter-service spots in the city, JJ Johnson’s Fieldtrip is a great place to grab a quick, filling lunch that’s more interesting than whatever you’d get at Sweetgreen. For Black History Month, both the Harlem and Rockefeller center locations will be serving a special bowl with veggies, sweet potato rice grits, and Creole king crab leg. It’ll be available in limited quantities all month long.
The Paley Center for Media
Black excellence in music is forever preserved thanks to the work of equally excellent television and film makers. At the Paley Center’s "Salute to Black Achievements in Music on Television" exhibit, you can catch screenings of everything from Motown’s old TCB specials to Fresh Prince, and learn more about them in a multimedia installation afterwards. The program runs until Feb 26th.
Lloyd’s Carrot Cake is the city’s oldest Black-owned carrot cake company, and from now until March 31st, they’re collaborating with Sweet Chick to bless us with carrot cake waffles and pancakes. Proceeds from the special will go to Lloyd’s Foundation, a family run scholarship program supporting underrepresented children interested in athletics and entrepreneurship.
Third Street Music School
The Harlem Chamber Players make classical music accessible to the community all year, and their 15th Annual Black History Month Celebration concert on Feb 9th is a great occasion to celebrate both them and Black contributions to classical music throughout history. They're also hosting BHM shows throughout the month at Brooklyn Public Library and David Geffen Hall. Shows are free with RSVP.
For the month of February, uptown craft beer destination Harlem Hops will be featuring exclusively Black and woman-owned beers on tap. The kickoff event is on Friday, February 3rd, and it'll feature music from DJ Ricky Belfort. Stay tuned for more events, like a mixer on February 19th with Uncle Nearest, a woman-owned distillery looking to raise $1 million for HBCUs with its HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge.
Books Are Magic
Looking for something to do with the kids? Head over to Books Are Magic in Cobble Hill for story time with the author and illustrator of The ABCs of Black History. On Sunday, February 19th at 11am, Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer will present their picture book, which runs through the alphabet as it covers everything from the Great Migration to Zora Neal Hurston. The event is free with RSVP.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
India.Arie will be amongst the talent performing at Afropunk and Lincoln Center’s collaborative event Black HERSTORY Live. The two-day event celebrates Black women in music and the performing arts, with poetry readings, dance, and visual art. You can buy tickets now for one or both events happening on Feb 24th and 25th. If you need dinner plans that weekend, try to get a reservation at Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi, an excellent new Afro-Caribbean restaurant that happens to be right inside David Geffen Hall.