Celebrating Black History Month

February 3rd, 2020

The College of Humanities and Africana Studies Program are hosting a series of events this month to celebrate Black History Month.


The programing begins on Tuesday, Feb. 4, with the Black History Month Kickoff, featuring food, dance, music, a free iPad raffle and more. The event is in the Student Union North Ballroom, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will include capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, spoken word, and a performance by local artist Chezale.


Throughout February, professors from Africana Studies will join KXCI Community Radio, 91.3 FM, as special guest DJs, sharing topics from black history and related music, each Thursday at 5 p.m.


Later in the month, the College of Humanities and Africana Studies Program are excited to present Black History Month 2020 with acclaimed artist and filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu. She is part of AFROBUBBLEGUM a collective of African artists whose ambition is to create fun, frivolous and fierce work.


Kahiu shatters convention around African representation—by celebrating art that’s made for the joy of it. Born in Nairobi, Kahiu is part of the new generation of African storytellers, screening films around the world and receiving international acclaim. In 2019, Kahiu was named one of TIME’s “100 Next,” the magazine’s inaugural list putting a spotlight on rising stars shaping the future.


Kahiu will present a lecture, “The Power of Joy,” on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St. The lecture is free and open to the public: advance tickets available here


In her vibrant, optimistic lecture, Kahiu explains why showing fun is a political act in African film, when happiness is so often seen as a privilege. Countering the typical narratives about Africa about poverty, war and devastation, Kahiu seeks balance and presents art that captures the full range of human experiences.


“So many of us trace our origins back to that continent, it’s important to remember the history of Africa has had fun in it. It has had imagination at the center of it,” she says. “It’s important to imagine our past and our roots not only as significant and serious, but also as frivolous and fantastical. That’s where collective joy is held.”


The following day, Friday, Feb. 28, Kahiu’s award-winning film Rafiki will screen at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Her second feature film, Rafiki is a love story about two young women, forced to choose between happiness and safety as they pursue their dreams in a conservative society. A Q&A with Kahiu will follow the screening. Tickets are $20 and available at The Loft Cinema box office.


Kahiu's events are sponsored by the College of Humanities, Africana Studies Program, AZ Humanities, Arizona Arts, and the School of Theatre, Film & Television