14 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
"Our Liberation" by @rachelwolfepack, Telegraph Ave. & 17th St. in Oakland (Courtesy of @visitoakland/@jordankellyparrott)

14 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month


Combine Black entrepreneurship, artistry, and performance; add a sprinkle of Black political action and liberation; top it off with a hefty dash of Black joy and you’ve got a Black History Month for the books.

This February, celebrate with the community at the Black Joy Parade, toast to Black wineries at the Annual Black Vines festival, and learn why every month should be Black History month at these 14 Bay Area events.

Drag king Helixir Jynder-Byntwell will emcee and perform at the Royales: Black Kings Excellence Drag Show at Mars Bar on Feb. 2.(Courtesy of @helixirdrag/@sfgaynightlife)

Yoshi’s Oakland: A month of Black artists

This February, Yoshi’s dedicates its stage to Black artists from all over the musical map. Legendary funk and R&B band Switch kicks things off on February 1 and 2, followed by a capella masters Naturally 7 (Feb. 4), a slap bass and funk tribute show (Feb. 8), the Grammy award-winning Stanley Clarke Band (Feb. 9-11), R&B crooner Eric Benet (Feb. 13-18), and more. // 510 Embarcadero West (Oakland), yoshis.com

2nd Annual Shrimp and Grits Taste Off

Grab a fork and dig into Southern-style shellfish at the Town Fare Cafe’s 2nd Annual Shrimp and Grits Taste Off. Six Black Oakland chefs—Michael Woods, Lala Harrison, Leilani Baugh, Reign Free Coleman, Tirzah Love, and Lamont Perriman—will deliver their take on the dish d’jour, alongside wine tastings from P. Harrell and music by DJ Mark Divita. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Kids 1st Foundation to support students interested in attending historically Black universities and colleges. $40/person. // Friday Feb. 2 from 6pm to 9pm; 1000 Oak St. (Oakland), eventbrite.com

Royales: Black Kings Excellence Drag Show

Celebrate Black History Month the SF way: With drag. The Royales, an all-BIPOC drag king troupe, will strut their stuff on the patio at Mars Bar in a performance hosted by Helixir Jynder-Byntwell. When the show’s over, the DJ will keep the party spinning till close. $15/person presale, $20/person at the door. // Friday February 2 from 8pm; 798 Brannan St. (SoMa), eventbrite.com

Sankofa Supper

Explore the diverse flavors and cultural influences of the African diaspora at the Sankofa Supper. The family-style dinner features the talents of chefs Nelson German (Alamar, Sobre Mesa), Michele McQueen (Town Fare Cafe), Adiam Tsegaye (Mela Bistro), and Juan Hormiga (Parche)—and that’s not all. The evening also includes a cocktail and Ethiopian coffee demo, passed appetizers by each chef, a live performance, and a DJ. After dinner, Sobre Mesa will take the reins with a super fun afterparty. $145/person. // Feb. 3 from 6pm to 10pm; Town Fare, 1000 Oak St. (Oakland), eventbrite.com

For the Love of The Town Tea

On February 3, the Oakland Marriott City Center hosts an afternoon tea to benefit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Sip a cuppa from Teas with Meaning, nibble sweet and savory eats, including cakes from Pound Bizness, and browse pop-up shops from some of Oakland’s most exciting Black-owned businesses. $85/adults, $40/kids under 12, reservations required. // Saturday Feb. 10 from 11:30am to 1pm; Iron & Oak Restaurant, Oakland Marriot City Center, 1001 Broadway St. (Oakland), oaklandmarriotcitycenter.com

West Oakland's Black Liberation Walking Tour will move through 100 years of history on Feb. 17.(Courtesy of @oakblwt)

Black History Month at Children’s Fairyland

Get the kiddos in on the Black History fun at Oakland’s beloved Fairyland. All month, they’ll be highlighting Oakland’s rich history from Pullman Porters to the Pointer Sisters in a visually spectacular display. Two Saturdays in a row, Fairyland will also be celebrating Black children’s literature. The author/illustrator of two new books, Tiffany Golden’s Wash Day (Feb. 10) and Ajuan Mance’s What do Brothas do All Day (Feb 17), will perform the stories aloud and, on the 17th, you can also pick up a limited edition Black History Month library card. // 699 Bellevue Ave. (Oakland), fairyland.org

Sooo Chocolate Festival

There’s so much chocolate at the Sooo Chocolate Festival, it’ll satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth. Eat your way through rich truffles, silky fondues, and other chocolatey treats paired with a wine tasting experience at Black Cultural Zone’s Uptown Market. Other local Black entrepreneurs, artisans, and vendors will also be on hand to share their wares. $100/person. // Friday Feb. 16 from 6pm to 8pm; 1955 Broadway (Oakland), eventbrite.com

Black Liberation Walking Tour

Stroll through the history of West Oakland on the Black Liberation Walking Tour. Guided by members of the Hoover-Foster community, the walk moves through 100 years of history, from the early West Coast Civil Rights Movement, through the second wave of the Great Migration, and on to the present day. At each stop, they’ll contextualize the story with oral histories collected from long-time residents and historical figures. $50/person. // Saturday Feb. 17 from 10am to 12pm; eventbrite.com

Black History Showcase Brunch

Burlesque, pole dancing, and drag are on the menu at the White Horse Inn’s send-up to Black artistry. Nine performers will highlight a diverse array of Black artists, using their bodies to channel their ancestral roots and address historical injustices to the Black community. The event begins with a Southern-style brunch, followed by the showcase and a full-blown dance party. $20-25/person, $70/person with brunch. // Saturday Feb. 17 from 11am to 4pm; 6551 Telegraph Ave. (Oakland), eventbrite.com

Black History Month Celebration at Thrive City

Thrive City will erupt with joy at their Black History Month Celebration on February 19. Queen Iminah & AAFE Kids and the Diamano Coura West African Dance Company will provide the entertainment, while the Black History 101 Mobile Museum’s Music of the Movement exhibit dives deep into the rich legacy of Black music. There will also be an arts and crafts station for the little ones, and plenty of good eats to snack on. Free, registration recommended. // Monday Feb. 19 from 12pm to 3pm; 1 Warriors Way (Mission Bay), eventbrite.com

The Black Joy Parade hits the Oakland streets on Feb. 25.(Courtesy of @blackjoyparade/@sabrinashireen)

Dylan Penningroth: The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights

Join The Commonwealth Club for a conversation with MacArthur Genius and UC Berkeley historian, Dr. Dylan Penningroth. He’ll be discussing his new book, Before the Movement, which looks beneath the surface of the story of the American Civil Rights Movement to uncover a deeper history of Black activism and liberation. $20/person. // Thursday Feb. 22 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm; 110 The Embarcadero (Embarcadero), eventbrite.com

13th Annual Black Vines Festival

Raise a glass to the Black wineries and winemakers challenging the stuffy status quo of the wine world at the 13th Annual Black Vines. Black joy will be front and center at the festival which, in addition to plenty of tasting, will also include diverse art, delectable hors d’oeuvres, and a competition for the best Black wineries in show. $175/person. // Saturday Feb. 24 from 1pm to 5pm; The Bridge Yard, 210 Burma Rd. (Oakland), blackvines.net

Jazz Brunch at The Cook and Her Farmer

Jazz will be the soundtrack at The Cook and Her Farmer’s annual jazz brunch in the garden. Stop in for fried catfish, shrimp and grits, and a side of fresh oysters while the Jazz Mafia swings New Orleans style. // Saturday Feb. 24 from 10am; 510 9th St. (Oakland), thecookandherfarmer.com

7th Annual Black Joy Parade

Feel the love at the 7th Annual Black Joy Parade, a festival dedicated to the Black experience—past, present, and future. The joyous celebration will parade through downtown Oakland, starting at 14th and Broadway at 12:30pm. The procession ends in a festival for the whole family, with more than 200 local artists, craftsmen, and food vendors, and two stages for performers like The Black Joy Choir and a yet-to-be-named headliner. Free, donations appreciated. // Sunday Feb. 25 from 12:30pm to 7pm; 19th and Broadway (Oakland), blackjoyparade.org

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