ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the seventh year in a row, the New Mexico Black History Festival organizers have built a rich, genre-spanning program of performances appealing to all New Mexicans while celebrating African American culture and history.
This year’s festival theme, One New Mexico, emphasizes inclusiveness and togetherness while exhibiting black culture’s accomplishments and expressions. NM Black History Organizing Committee founder and director Cathryn McGill has scheduled an array of entertaining events.
“‘One New Mexico’ is something that we still must aspire to,” McGill states. “We still need improvements in the area of promoting true multiculturalism. The events we are doing are all about figuring out ways that we might interact socially, politically, and culturally.”
The series of events begins on Sunday, February 11th at Nob Hill’s Hiland Theater with the 1st Annual Youth Talent Hunt Competition sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., which will showcase local high school students à la America’s Got Talent.
On Thursday, February 15th, the hotly-anticipated movie, Marvel’s Black Panther, screens at Century Rio 24. Tickets for the event, including a mixer sponsored by the Young Black Professionals of Albuquerque, sold out quickly in January.
Back at Hiland Theater on Sunday, February 18th, international performing artist Callie Day will be featured in a gospel celebration. The One New Mexico Gospel Choir, made up of individuals from churches throughout New Mexico, will also perform and the concert is free.
The 7th Annual Cotton Club Scholarship Gala, dubbed “Kings and Queens of Soul,” will celebrate the legacy of Albuquerque’s education champions. This year’s Frederick Douglass Award honoree is Dr. Linda Townsend-Johnson, a veteran principal in APS. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. sponsors the catered night of entertainment and dancing led by R&B band Retro-Soul on Saturday, February 24th at Embassy Suites downtown.
NM Black History Festival’s events actually wrap up on Thursday, March 1st, at the historic Lensic Theater where genre-breaking duo Black Violin performs. Tickets include a chartered bus from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, dinner catered by Jambo Café and dessert on the ride back. Black Violin are known for their musical mashups from Wu-Tang Clan to Bach, played with an emphasis on breaking cultural and musical stereotypes, which is precisely what McGill’s month-long program intends to do as well. “Black history is American history,” McGill says. “We are all better when we know more, and we do better when we have better information.”
There are additional weekday events throughout the month. For information on dates, tickets and more, visit their website and proceed to the calendar and events sections.