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Thursday, February 18
From 1968 to 1973 the PBS variety show “SOUL!” offered an unfiltered, uncompromising view of Black literature, poetry, music and politics. Now New Mexico PBS and the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter bring this show back to life with a screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary Mr. SOUL! Using archival clips and former guest stars’ recollections, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in American culture and celebrates producer and host Ellis Haizlip, an unsung hero who gave voice to those who had few other options for national exposure. Following the screening is a panel discussion moderated by journalists Megan Kamerick and Jerry Redfern and featuring Mr. SOUL! filmmaker Melissa Haizlip. The free virtual film event starts at 7pm on Feb. 18. Register for your online tickets at:
Sunday, February 21
Honoring Barrier Breakers
The New Mexico Black Leadership Council recognizes trailblazing “firsts” in the New Mexico Black community at the Asante Awards: Barrier Breakers.The awardees for 2021 are Judge Shammara H. Henderson, New Mexico Court of Appeals, first African American woman elected to a N.M. statewide office; Gerald Byers, first African American N.M. district attorney; Senator Harold Pope, Jr., New Mexico Legislature, District 23, first African American to be elected to the State Senate; Dr. Tracie Collins, first African American director of the N.M. Department of Health; Sonya Smith, first African American director of N.M. Veteran Affairs; and Marsha Majors, first African American woman credit union president in New Mexico. Asante means “thank you” in Swahili, and the Asante Awards honors those who advance the promise of equality, liberty and justice for all. Join the free virtual ceremony on Feb. 21 at 3pm. To register go to nmblackhistory.nmblc.org/asante/ (Shannon Moreau)
Friday, February 26
Performing Arts Reunion
We can’t gather in theaters yet, so the Kumbuka Celebration: DECADES Deep brings the theater to you. This virtual celebration reunites cast and crew from the past 10 years of the New Mexico Black History Festival’s live shows. With Kumbuka, meaning “bring to mind” in Swahili, the New Mexico Black Leadership Council remembers theatrical performances the community came to know and love. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy live song, dance and music, all performed by excellent Black New Mexico talent. Order food from a local Black-owned business and kick back for highlights from For Colored Girls, Roots Revival, The Wiz and much more. The free online show and reunion starts at 6:30pm on Feb. 26. Register for virtual tickets at nmblackhistory.nmblc.org/kumbuka/ (Shannon Moreau)
February – July
Black History/Black Future
The New Mexico Black History Festival launches a 10-year celebration with DECADES: Past, Present, Future. Because Black history extends past February, the New Mexico Black Leadership Council has planned a slate of artistic, cultural and community celebrations throughout the year. Upcoming highlights include Why Me? Diabetes and Hypertension in the Black Community on March 16, the Afro-Futurism lecture series on March 10, 17 and 24 and the ONE New Mexico Gospel Concert on March 21. To keep up to date with the Black History Festival events, go to nmblackhistory.nmblc.org (Shannon Moreau)