Celebrate Black History Month at the Brooklyn Children Museum’s Black Future Festival

By Kendra J. Bostock | [email protected]

Photo credit Winston Williams / Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) will honor Black History Month with a week-long celebration, Black Future Festival: We Da People. Taking place during the DOE Midwinter Recess from February 18 to February 25, the festival is presented in partnership with guest curator Kendra J. Bostock and STooPS.

Black Future Festival is a week of reflection and future-forward fun, inspired by the national celebration of the African Diaspora and Black History Month. Families are invited to visit the Museum for a one-of-a-kind experience to envision a future that learns from the values and lessons of Black past, present, and future. Each day of the festival features a wide-ranging array of exciting programming, including live performances, dance programs, storytelling workshops, cultural experiences, art exploration, and more.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum is proud to present Black Future Festival: We Da People in collaboration with our talented partners, Kendra J. Bostock and STooPS. As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s important for our youth to learn about the resilience, triumphs, and contributions of Black individuals throughout history and in their communities today. We hope to inspire young people in envisioning their own futures, as well as work towards a future where these contributions are recognized and celebrated every day,” said Dylan House, Director of Public Programs at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Black Future Festival: We Da People will pay homage to the role of art-making in the Black-led social movements that have shaped Brooklyn as we know it today. The program’s vibrant and varied workshops will feature dance, storytelling, music, poetry, and visual arts based in Afrocentric values and principles. Select dates feature live dance performances produced by KJB Works and performed by dancer, choreographer, and community organizer Kendra J. Bostock. This multidisciplinary all-ages dance piece will take families on a multisensory journey using everyday items from our lives as portals to Black past, present and Afro-future.

“I am so excited about the partnership between Brooklyn Children’s Museum, myself, and STooPS. Having such an important institution embrace a much younger organization is a great example of a Black Future — giving space and highlighting Black art, voices, and community,” said Kendra J. Bostock, Founder/Director of STooPS and choreographer of KJB Works’ Portals: Doors to the Black Past and Future performances.

“When I think about the Black Future, I imagine a time where the values, contributions, and lifestyles of Black folks are honored and amplified,” Bostock continued. “As I reflect on Black-led social movements that have paved the way for our present and future to exist, it has not been about overtaking but making space. Carving out liberatory spaces where Africanist principles such as community, self-determination, and collective reliance can be at the forefront. These are concepts that we can all embrace, regardless of race, that will lead us to less oppression. This festival is about sharing the beauty and power of Blackness and cultivating a new generation who can move us towards an Afro-future. A future where Blackness is embraced as the change-making force it has always been.”

Additionally, New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) will be at BCM to showcase an exclusive collection of family-friendly, award-winning short films. These films feature historically underrepresented communities and stories that foster curiosity and empathy.

Daily programs will be replicated twice each day of the festival, in the morning and again in the afternoon (10 am–1 pm and 2 pm–5 pm). Visit www.brooklynkids.org/black-future-festival to view the program schedule for each day.

PROGRAMS

Portals: Doors to the Black Past and Future

This multidisciplinary dance performance looks at everyday items in our lives that serve as portals to the Black past, present, and Afro-future. KJB Works transports us across time and space using her Sankofa process, inspired by the Ghanaian Akan term for “looking back to move forward.” Performed by Kendra J. Bostock, Brittany Grier, J’Nae Simmons, and Kimani Fowlin.

2/24, 2/25 at 11 am–11:45 am and 2:30 pm–3:15 pm

 

Build Your World with Fabric

Did you know there’s a bit of an artist in all of us? Let’s make cultural masks using materials like cowrie shells, yarn, pipe cleaners, tape, raffia, and construction paper. Creative minds are working hands! Led by Ramona Kearns.

2/22 at 11 am– 1:45 pm

2/23 at 12:15 pm–1 pm

 

Remembering and Transforming: Storytelling

Journey with us as we tell stories of the past, present, and future. We will listen to stories of Bed-Stuy and remember ancestors who created a path with their legacy. Together we will bring our stories to life and create movement for the journey ahead. Move to the music and create a collective poem. Led by Wema Ragophala.

2/22 at 12:15 pm – 1 pm

2/25 at 4 pm–4:45 pm

 

Afrofuturistic Comic Covers

Join us in ColorLab to design your own Afrofuturistic comic book cover, inspired by the work of author and illustrator, John Jennings.

Thru 2/25 at 10:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:30 pm–4:30 pm

 

Moving Stories: Dance

A movement experience that includes various dance forms from the African Diaspora (traditional African forms, modern, jazz, Afrobeat). Led by Carmen Carriker.

2/23 at 12:15 pm – 1 pm

 

NYICFF in Your Neighborhood

New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) presents an exclusive collection of family-friendly, award-winning short films. Whether dreaming up the fantastical, like a spider’s goal to capture the moon, or the practical, like a young animator’s future stardom, these shorts are sure to enchant and delight all audiences (but especially our youngest!).

2/20 – 2/23 at 10:30 am – 11:20 am and 3 pm – 3:50 pm

 

Adinkra Portals: Visual Art

Adinkra symbols were created by the Akan people of Ghana. The symbols represent qualities of character and life principles. This workshop is inspired by Lorraine O’Grady’s 1983 “Art Is…” performance, in which parade marchers framed bystanders in gold frames, transforming them into a piece of art to behold. Participants can make a frame from repurposed materials, decorate it with adinkra symbols, and then take a picture with it, framing themselves as a work of art adorned by a collection of powerful symbols. Led by Pia Monique Murray.

2/22 at 4 pm–4:45 pm

 

Connecting to Ancestral Intelligence: Plant Allies For Children

This workshop is an opportunity for children to explore plants as allies through sensed understanding. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about plants that surround them every day and create a winter plant snow globe of their favorite plant ally. Led by Renee K. Smith.

2/23 at 11 am–11:45 am

 

Keep On Moving: Dance

Join KOM3 from the Breaks Kru in his invigorating “Keep On Moving” dance workshop. Geared towards kids, this dynamic experience redefines dance education by infusing Breaking with engaging games and exercise routines. Discover a workshop that not only teaches the art of Breaking but also cultivates a love for movement and a healthy, active lifestyle in a safe and inclusive environment. Led by KOM3.

2/22 at 2:30 pm–3:15 pm

2/23 at 4 pm–4:45 pm

 

Lyrical Liberation: Music/Poetry

Ella Baker said: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest!” Take a music and poetry journey as we sing and create music together. Led by PitsiRa Ragophala.

2/24 and 2/25 at 4 pm–4:45 pm

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