Black History Month 2023

Enjoy a full month of programming celebrating Black history, culture and more this February. Centering around this year’s Black History Month theme of Black Resistance, take part in educational experiences and events taking place throughout Santa Monica. There’s plenty of family-friendly fun and learning to do—don’t miss out!

Events & Happenings

Reading of Black History Month Proclamation | Tuesday, January 24
Author and journalist Ralinda Harvey Smith and Santa Monica High School student and Black Student Union member Jamila Williams are collaborating on a two-part proclamation for Black History Month and will present it at the city council meeting. The public is welcome to attend the meeting in person, or you can click here to watch the meeting on the City’s YouTube page.

Kickoff Event | Wednesday, February 1
Welcome Black History Month with Brunch at City Yards, from 10-11:30am, and lunch at City Hall, from 12-1:30pm! Save your appetite so you can purchase mouthwatering grub from food trucks All Flavor No Grease, Compton Vegan and OMG Icees for brunch at City Yards and lunch at City Hall. Burn off those calories by jamming to music by DJ Ron and following along with dancer Velvet Charles, who will lead attendees in crowd favorites the Wobble, Electric Slide and more.

Black History Month Exhibits | Wednesday, February 1 – Tuesday, February 28
Stop by Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main St., during business hours to view exhibits featuring poetry aligning with the theme of Black Resistance. City Hall is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every other Friday (closed Feb. 10 and 24). Exhibits will remain active until February 28.

Black History Month Book Displays | Wednesday, February 1 – Tuesday, February 28
All Santa Monica Library locations will feature Black History Month book displays for the month of February.

The Creative Mind | Monday, February 13 through Friday, March 10
Renowned traveling exhibition from the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) explores significant achievements, discoveries, inventions, and other contributions made by the Black community to medicine, engineering, mathematics, and the sciences.

Screening of “The Gabby Douglas Story”| Thursday, February 16
The Santa Monica Library invites the public to a screening of “The Gabby Douglas Story,” an inspiring look at the life of the first black gymnast to become the Individual All-Around Champion and the first American to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. For teens only.

The World is My Home: The Life of Paul Robenson| Sunday, February 19 and Saturday, February 25
Powerful and poignant, heartfelt and humorous, Santa Monica Playhouse is proud to present one show only of film, television and stage personality Stogie Kenyatta’s acclaimed NAACP Award-Winning solo show about African-American artist-activist Paul Robeson.

Mystery Book Group Discussion | Tuesday, February 21
Join the Santa Monica Library for a discussion of Walter Mosley’s “Trouble Is What I Do.” Detective Leonid McGill is forced to confront the ghost of his felonious past when a nonagenarian Mississippi bluesman is targeted by an infamous assassin.

Catherine Adel West Discusses “The Two Lives of Sara” | Thursday, February 23
Join author Catherine Adel West for a virtual reading and discussion of her novel, “The Two Lives of Sara,” an emotional and unforgettable story of hope, resilience, and unexpected love. Participants will be able to submit questions for the author during the event. The event will be facilitated by Alisa Orduña, PhD, a practitioner, policy analyst, collaborator and thought leader in homelessness services in the U.S.

Black History Greens Festival | Saturday, March 4
Join Virginia Avenue Park (VAP) and the Parent Connection Group (PCG) in collaboration with Pico Branch Library and the Santa Monica Farmers Market to celebrate Black History Month at the 8th annual Black History Greens Festival. This year’s theme is We Are Family: Celebrating the Cultural Melting Pot of Black American History. The event will feature greens cooking demonstrations with Chefs Ewanda and Miche’le, book readings and giveaways, dance performances, Malik Books Bookmobile, vendors, health information, and special guest KJLH’s Arron “BOBO” Arnell will be the master of ceremonies.

Black History Month Festival – Celebration & Solidarity | Saturday, March 11
Celebrate Black History Month at the free celebration and solidarity festival on the Third Street Promenade, March 11 from 4-10pm. Enjoy a special celebrity panel, local vendors, a fashion show, African drumming, paintball experience, givaways and so much more! Don’t miss a special performance by Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

Mr. Soul Screening | Tuesday, February 28
A free screening and discussion of the documentary Mr. Soul! explores the story of Ellis Haizlip, the co-creator, producer, and co-host of the first nationally broadcast show featuring Black performers on public television, “Soul!”

A Reading by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah | Tuesday, March 21
New York Times–bestselling author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah will present “A Reading by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah” as part of SMC’s Black History Series and the SMC Literary Talks & Readings series.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities Day | Thursday, March 23
The SMC Transfer Center and Black Collegians Program Umoja Community will host a short, highly informative presentation on the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

A Reading by Tananarive Due | Friday, April 7
Award-winning author Tananarive Due will present “Navigating Real-Life Horrors Through Writing Horror: A Reading by Tananarive Due” as part of SMC’s Black History Series and the SMC Literary Talks & Readings series.

Contemporary Jazz Fusion | Thursday, May 18
Los Angeles-based dancer, choreographer, and educator Laura Ann Smyth will lead a class on rhythm-driven movement that honors African American vernacular jazz roots while sampling contemporary dance practices, and pushes participants to perform, find musical precision, and experience the joy of storytelling through movement.

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Travel safely and sustainably to help maintain Santa Monica’s beauty while staying healthy with these tips.

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Support Black Santa Monica Businesses

Affirmation Effect
Shop for apparel, accessories and natural wax scented candles. Open Monday-Friday 9am-6pm.

Black Santa Monica Tours and Concierge
Owned by Robbie Jones, enjoy historical tours of Santa Monica. These tours explore the coastal city’s best kept secret: its African American history.

Cafe Ruisseau
Owner Edward Ackah-Miezah brings the coffee culture to Santa Monica with coffee and grab-and-go meals. Cafe Ruisseau prides itself on being vegan-friendly, dog-friendly and people-friendly.

Chateau Beauty Bar
Feel beautiful at this beauty bar specializing in textured hair and protective styles, thanks to Cordell and Sophia Broadus. Enjoy pampering from head to toe from elite and professional stylists any day of the week.

Chick-fil-A Santa Monica
Home to the original chicken sandwich with two pickles on a bun, visit Eddie Brown’s franchise restaurant and enjoy this popular American fast food restaurant.

Cuttin’ Up! Barbershop III
Specializing in black hair, this full-service barbershop offers an array of services for men’s and women’s hair. Make an appointment with Xavier or any of the trusted team Monday through Saturday.

Break a sweat at this flagship boxing studio on Wilshire Blvd. Check out this 5,000 square foot studio and athletic performance facility, including a competition boxing ring, heavy bags, speed bags, Spin Pro bikes and more.

Inspired Method, Inc.
Make some friends and get a great workout with an Inspired Method fitness boot camp, run by Jared Rodriguez. Find where science meets inspiration with mobility, strength, cardio and lifestyle classes and get your first class free!

King’s Celebrity ATA Martial Arts
Build your confidence and reach your true potential with Taekwondo and self-defense classes. Opened in 2000, Master Victor King has taught values of confidence, leadership and fitness to children and adults through his many classes. Try a class today!

Lashing All Over the City
Give your lashes some love with premium quality strip lashes and beauty products and receive professional lash training from owner Karlene. Pick from three glamorous lash extension services, shop for the best products or sign up for a class!

Logan’s Gardens at Santa Monica Farmers Market
Tickle your tastebuds with father-son duo, Jimmy and Logan Williams’ over 1,000 varieties of rare and heirloom edible plants, available every Wednesday and Saturday at Santa Monica’s farmers market.

Tangana Wellness
Treat yourself and yours to organic and fair trade teas, superfoods, spices and more with a selection of natural goods created to encourage wellness and inspire holistic gifting for any occasion.

For more Black-owned businesses, check out the full list on City of Santa Monica’s website.


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