Jazz concerts and documentaries headline Black History Month celebrations in Jamaica

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From music to the silver screen, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning will host a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month in February.

The fourth-annual “Black History Month Celebration Series” gets underway on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3, with a screening of the film “LA92.” The documentary focuses on the April 1992 riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial verdict.

Produced by two-time Oscar winner Simon Chinn and Emmy winner Jonathan Chin, “LA92” looks at the events from multiple vantage points, bringing a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment in history. The film will be screened at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3, at JCAL, located at 161-04 Jamaica Ave.; admission is free.

Other Black History Month events that JCAL will host include the following:

  • See the film “Finding Samuel Lowe” on Friday night, Feb. 8, at JCAL. The movie tells the tale of three successful black siblings from Harlem who discover their heritage while searching for clues about their long-lost grandfather. The film begins at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.
  • Gospel, R&B, bluegrass and spirituals are part of the Children’s Theater Company’s performance of “Henry Box Brown” on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the nearby Jamaica Performing Arts Center. The musical, considered by many as an American version of “Les Miserables,” tells the story of an 1850s slave from Virginia who shipped himself to freedom in a box. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children; the show gets underway at 2 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave.
  • JCAL will host a staged reading of some Caribbean literature classics on Friday night, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Presented in part with the Braata Theatre Workshops, the reading introduces audiences to new and aspiring young talents of Caribbean descent showcasing stories from literary giants including Walcott, Rhone and Scott. Admission is free.
  • Experience a multi-media jazz concert on Saturday night, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at JCAL with The Langston Hughes Project’s “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz.” It’s based on Hughes’ “Ask Your Mama” kaleidoscopic jazz poem on the struggle for artistic and social freedom during the 1960s. You’ll hear all kinds of music genres including blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin sounds and more. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for children.
  • Finally, the Jamaica Performing Arts Center will host United African Dance on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Patricia Ghizamboule Robinson, the dance troupe will showcase their signature libation, drumming and dance performance honoring their ancient ancestors. Tickets are between $15 and $25. For more information on this event, call 917-519-3425.

Visit JCAL’s website for additional information on Black History Month events.