Well, dear reader, we’ve done it again. We’ve made it to the end of another long-ass month. And if you’re in the mood to celebrate, I’ve got a plethora of virtual events for you to choose from to help aid in your joy. (Speaking of joy, next month is Black History Month and I couldn’t be more excited. We’ve been through a lot and second to Christmas, this is the most wonderful time of the year for me.) Anyway, keep reading to see which events tickle your fancy.
First things first: perhaps the biggest virtual event we need to discuss is the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off today, January 28 through February 3. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the festival has gone virtual in an effort to reach as many people as possible—giving unprecedented access to the star-studded festivities. Registration is open now so you’d better secure your tickets to catch some of the most award-buzzing films and amazing panel discussions. And if your favorite movie is sold out, don’t worry! There’s still a whole host of free events you can attend with stars from your favorite films; keep reading to see who’s debuting and when.
Day 1 of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off Thursday and there’s a whole lotta goodness involved. Dozens of full-length features and shorts, all indies of course, are set to premiere as well as the Opening Night Welcome ceremony. Visit here to view the full seven-day schedule.
Stay Macro at Sundance
Powered by SheaMoisture, the Macro Lodge has been a premier destination for BIPOC filmmakers, creators, and tastemakers to convene, converse, and celebrate for the last four years. This year, Macro is hosting daily talks with folks in front of and behind the camera from your favorite films such as Sylvie’s Love, Judas and the Black Messiah, One Night in Miami and more. To see the full schedule of events, be sure to go here.
MahoganyBooks, in tandem with 12 other bookstores nationwide will hold a special virtual book event at 6 p.m. ET featuring legendary actress and now author Cicely Tyson. In conversation with Whoopi Goldberg, Ms. Tyson will discuss her new book, Just As I Am, which covers her story, personal truth and legacy as one of the most respected and enduring talents in American theater and film history. Editorial director Tracy Sherrod of Amistad HarpersCollins, the oldest U.S. publisher dedicated to multicultural voices, and Well-Read Black Girl founder Glory Edim are also participating in the event. Save your seat and a copy of the book by visiting here.
The Educational Theatre Foundation is holding a virtual gala, Theatre Alive!: A Celebration of School Theatre, honoring Broadway director and producer Kenny Leon and The Shubert Organization. The Foundation, which supports theater education, will honor Leon with its second annual Craig Zadan Theatre for Life Award and The Shubert Organization with the annual Standing Ovation Award. The event is free with pre-registration and will stream starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on Playbill.com, Broadway on Demand, and iHeartRadio Broadway. Featured guests include Jennifer Hudson, Wayne Brady, Audra McDonald, Samuel L. Jackson, Amber Riley and more.
Day 2 of Sundance is here. Don’t forget to check the full schedule so you can properly plan your viewings! And if you’re in the mood for a talk, be sure to check out Sundance’s 2021 Cinema Cafe conversation with Questlove and director of Judas and the Black Messiah, Shaka King. The thought-provoking and enlightening conversation will be moderated by the Atlantic staff writer Hannah Giorgis.
HBO Max will host Our Stories to Tell, a multi-day, virtual experience with various invite-only and public events to empower and celebrate the streamer’s commitment to African American, Asian American, LGBTQ+ and Latinx audiences in conjunction with Sundance Film Festival. Key speakers include Insecure’s Alexander Hodge, Judas and the Black Messiah’s Dominique Fishback, MLK/FBI director Sam Pollard, Eureka, Shangela, and Bob the Drag Queen from HBO’s We’re Here and so much more. For more information including the full itinerary and registration details, visit OurStoriesToTell.com.
Day 3 of Sundance is in full swing. With nearly 12 premieres and a handful of screenings, we know you’ll be in film heaven. Be sure to visit their website for the full list of the day’s features.
Get Out Alive
This Afro-Goth musical Get Out Alive from artist Nikki Lynette recounts her personal journey of pain, tragedy, and triumph in an effort to raise mental health awareness through the lens of a hip-hop concert. Using storytelling, song, dance, visual media and a live DJ, Lynette’s offbeat approach to sharing her mental health story shows that even when life leads us to a bad place, we can always make it out alive. Originally a sold-out show for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut Series, Get Out Alive has now been reimagined for a virtual audience. To purchase tickets, make sure to visit its website.
HFPA at Sundance
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will host “Women Breaking Barriers: An Industry Shift?” panel discussion at the 2021 Virtual Sundance Film Festival. The panel will explore if we are seeing a shift in the film industry in terms of female creatives in the field in light of the major Hollywood pause due to the pandemic, racial reckoning, and more. The HFPA will pose this question to the inclusive group of panelists and discuss the future of women in the film and music business post pandemic. Featured panelists include HFPA members Elisabeth Sereda and Silvia Bizio, Halle Berry, Andra Day, Robin Wright with a special guest to be revealed at the virtual event. The event will be live-streamed starting at 2 p.m. ET on Sundance.Org, GoldenGlobes.com, and Golden Globes YouTube pages.
is in full swing now, check out day four’s premieres, screenings and events here.
Every Stylish Girl
EveryStylishGirl, a company focused on reshaping the world of business and media for Black and Brown women, will be hosting their 8th Sip N’ Slay conference entitled: Secrets of Black Success. With nearly 40% of Black-owned businesses bound to go bankrupt due to the worldwide pandemic, this conference will focus on providing a platform for both budding and established entrepreneurs and Black and Brown business owners to gain exposure for their businesses. Keynote speakers include beauty and business mogul Jackie Aina as well as several other Black women in beauty and fashion who haven’t let the COVID pandemic slow down their hustle (or profits), such as the founders of Honey Pot, Ethel’s Club, Mented Cosmetics and more! To attend, be sure to register here.
Things aren’t slowing down at Sundance just yet! Day 5 is going down with a brand new set of amazing films and in-depth conversations. Check them out here.
Coming to America
Grab some McDowell’s and gather ‘round for a Twitter watch party for the original Coming to America to commemorate the start of Black History Month with Amazon Prime. Immediately following the #royalrewatch, America’s favorite DJ (okay, well my favorite DJ) DJ D-Nice will be spinning an ‘80s throwback live DJ set on Instagram Live. Join along in the fun, which starts at 7 p.m. ET by following along on @PrimeVideo and @ZamundaRoyals! And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Coming 2 America, which will be making its royal debut on March 5th, on Prime Video.
Go Behind the Book
CaltechLive! is excited to begin Black History Month with author Blake Hill-Saya as she discusses her recent nonfiction book, Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham’s Black Wall Street, live on Monday, February 1 at 8 p.m. ET. This event is the first in the Behind the Book authors series, which facilitates conversations with authors who explore the intersections of the arts, science, and society through the lens of family histories. Hill-Saya will be interviewed by Monique Thomas, program coordinator at the Caltech Center for Inclusion & Diversity. To register for the event, make sure to visit here.
We’re almost there now! Day 6 leaves no shortage of buzz-worthy films and performances. To make sure you don’t miss any of the action, take a look at what to expect by visiting here.
Phew, what a whirlwind week, huh? Of course, we couldn’t let you leave without the chance to catch the second screening of some films you may have missed. Check the schedule here to close out your Sundance experience with a bang.
For(bes) The Culture
For(bes) The Culture is hosting their inaugural For(bes) The Culture Culturally Accountable Summit. Their aim is to gather both cultural and corporate leaders together to discuss the ways in which the community as a whole can effect change, all while offering professional and personal advice to ensure a successful 2021. Featured speakers include Sahi Pompey, Global Head of Corporate Engagement & President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, Cofounder & CEO of 1and1Life Corey Lewis, Vice President and Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Richemont North American Inc. Doug Melvillle, Journalist and Producer of At Your Service Imprint, Noor Tagouri, Cofounder and CEO of Jopwell Porter Braswell, Cofounder & CEO, Jopwell, and Ryan Wilson, Cofounder & CEO of TGS Holdings and many more. The event is free but you must register to attend.