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Here’s the lineup for Milwaukee Film’s Black History Month 2023

MKE Film

Given the organization’s name, Milwaukee Film has of course arranged for an impressive array of films as part of its fifth annual Black History Month celebration. But the full lineup curated by its Black Lens program goes well beyond the screen with events featuring music, food and even a bit of romance.

You can find the full schedule below, but we’d be remiss to not bring your attention to the event we’ll host at our Walker’s Point home on Feb. 3. “A Leap Into Afrofuturism” will feature local creatives using the crossover points among hip-hop, anime, literature, film, video games and cosplay to map out the future. Plus, you get a high-energy set from DJ Freakish Nerd to cap the night.

Check out everything Milwaukee Film has in store for this year’s celebration:

Film screenings (all at the Oriental Theatre)

Feb. 2 — The Big Payback, 7 p.m.
For a rookie alderwoman from Evanston, Ill., the check has finally come due, leading to the passage of the first tax-funded reparations for slavery bill in U.S. history for Black Americans. But as the country is swept into a nationwide racial reckoning, the likelihood of the reparations movement finally getting its big payback comes into question.

Feb. 4 — The Last Dragon, 7 p.m.
A young martial arts prodigy is in search of the master who will help unlock his final level of mastery known as ‘the glow’. Standing in his way - the ruthless martial arts master Sho’nuff (aka The Shogun of Harlem), and a beautiful TV VJ who needs rescuing. This colorful cult classic has energy and style to spare, a genre mash-up like no other!

Feb. 9 — The African Desperate, 7 p.m.
With 24 hours sitting between Palace Bryant and her graduation from art school, she finds herself on a delirious, hallucinatory trek from Upstate New York to Chicago. A riotously funny odyssey that skewers art world pretension and internet age sex and drug culture, The African Desperate is anything but, it’s a confident debut feature like no other.

Feb. 11 — Black Love Through a Black Lens, noon
You do not have to watch a romance film to experience the expansive nature of Black love! Boundless, limitless, and most importantly, genreless, Black love exists in various forms. Join us on Valentine’s Day weekend for an evening of short films that center and celebrate Black love in all its multitudes.

Feb. 16 — Loudmouth, 7 p.m.
Preacher. Activist. Firebrand. The reverend Al Sharpton has been at the center of national conversations for over three decades, using his reach to speak truth to power in the face of America’s deafening complacency in the fight against racial injustice. Loudmouth gives us unprecedented access to this living legend, and asks whether the good Reverend has gone mainstream or if America is finally choosing to listen.

Feb. 18 — Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom, noon
An unscripted documentary that invites viewers into the story of Juneteenth — the holiday recognizing the end of legalized slavery in Texas — through the eyes of a Black man learning about the holiday from the direct descendants of those liberated. The story serves as a parable that offers hope and the insight that faith can be the greatest weapon against injustice.

Feb. 23 — Fire Music, 7 p.m.
Initially maligned, the free jazz movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s has since been recognized as pivotal to jazz’s evolution as America’s foremost and most innovative art form. Showcasing the brilliant architects behind a movement (Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, John Coltrane) that pushed artistic and rhythmic boundaries, Fire Music is a rich treasure trove for jazz aficionados.

Feb. 25 — An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, noon
After being stood up on a date with a beautiful woman, a young artist ventures on a quixotic and hyper-stylized journey into the center of that very moment. “Hyperbolic adjectives such as dizzying, effervescent, kaleidoscopic and exhilarating spring to mind but don’t adequately convey the craft and persistence that have gone into this confessional slice of (semi) non-fiction.” (Sight & Sound)


Feb. 1 — Young Professionals Forum @ Company Brewing, 6 p.m.
Join us to build connections in an inclusive social space while we enjoy a short film, guided discussions and happy hour socializing!

Feb. 3 — A Leap Into Afrofuturism @ Radio Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
An exploration of Black identity through the lens of local creators who reimagine the future across intersections of hip-hop, anime, literature, film, video games and cosplay.

Feb. 10 — Black History Month Trivia @ Company Brewing, 8 p.m.
Crew up and test your knowledge of all things Black history with a special evening of trivia that includes an eclectic mixture of history and contemporary pop culture.

Feb. 11 — Black Love Through a Black Lens: Afrosexology @ Dandy, 7 p.m.
Join Dalychia and Rafaella of Afrosexology for a candid, interactive conversation about Black love, intimacy, sexuality and relationships.

Feb. 17 — In Retrospect: The Life & Times of Kendrick Lamar @ Company Brewing, 7 p.m.
This evening of engaging conversation and celebration features a discussion with pop culture critic and music journalist Miles Marshall Lewis, author of Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar.

Feb. 25 — Groove Theory: Growing Nation @ The Cooperage, 8 p.m.
This special edition of the Black Lens music series features a reunion of original members of the genre-bending R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop local band Growing Nation — their first performance in over a decade!

Feb. 26 — For the Soul: A Narrated Food Tasting & Conversation @ Turning Tables, 5 p.m.
Join us for great food and conversation as Dr. Bert Davis and Judge Derek Mosley explore the rich history of African-American food culture with this special narrated tasting.