The 20th Annual Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival:

Coming of Age

Works in Progress: Black Writers’ Workshop
Monday, February 19
4:30 – 6:30 PM
The Signet
46 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Kick-off this year’s Black Arts Festival by gathering for the Black Writer’s Workshop, sponsored by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College. This event is an open space where anyone, regardless of experience, has the opportunity to share work, receive feedback, and bond with fellow Black writers on campus. Tea and cookies will be provided.

On Improvisation: Masterclass with Jill Scott hosted by Esperanza Spalding
Tuesday, February 20
7 – 8:30 PM
**Now in Lowell Lecture Hall**
17 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138

This event will be ticketed:

Join Black Arts Festival for our second event, a vocal masterclass with Grammy award-winning singer, poet, and actress Ms. Jill Scott! This event will feature a tribute by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College and student performers will receive critique from our esteemed guest. The masterclass will be followed by a dialogue moderated by Professor of Practice in the music department, Grammy-award winner Esperanza Spalding.

Due to overwhelming interest, tickets are now available to the public and the location has been changed to Lowell Lecture Hall. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the event. Tickets will become available as soon as doors open at 6:15. (If you already have a ticket, those tickets are still valid)

Black in Film Workshop
Wednesday, February 21
3 – 5 PM
Harvard OCS
54 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138

From #OscarsSoWhite to the rise of Shondaland, the place of Black actors, filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers in Hollywood has come to the forefront of public conversation. Join Kuumba’s Black Arts Festival for an enlightening event featuring a conversation with esteemed producer and Harvard alumnus Franklin Leonard via Skype. Those interested in any aspect of filmmaking are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Sing It, Sister
Wednesday, February 21
7:30 – 9:30 PM
Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub
45 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Join Kuumba’s Black Arts Festival for its annual, “Sing It, Sister” open mic. “Sing it, Sister” will be an engaging open mic experience celebrating the voices, stories, and experiences of Black womxn and femmes!

Come to share your own stories and creativity, as well as to listen to and uplift the voices of members of our community. Poetry, singing, readings, story-telling, and pretty much any other medium you can think of are highly encouraged! The theme of Kuumba’s Black Arts Festival this year is “Coming of Age,” but performances are not limited to this theme. Light refreshments will be served, with meals and alcoholic beverages (21+) available for purchase from the Queenshead Pub.

If you’re interested in performing, fill out this sing up form:
or reach out to

On Movement: An Evening of Film and Performance
Friday, February 23
7 – 9:30 PM
Leverett Library Theater
28 Dewolfe Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

As the penultimate event of the Black Arts Festival, On Movement celebrates movement on and off screen, showcasing works such as Khalil Joseph’s Music is My Mistress starring Jesse Williams and Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair, and Jay-Z and Ava Duvernay’s Family Feud. Among these shorts, enjoy the screening of our feature film – The Fits (2015), which explores the complexities of Black womanhood through the growth of a young Black boxer and dancer named Toni. In addition to these beautiful films, the event will include a performance by Brooklyn-based dancer-poet duo Nia & Ness, whose art deals with the struggles and joys of being black, lesbian, women.

Come enjoy these incredible Black films and performances on Feb. 23, 7:30pm in Leverett Library Theater! Doors open at 7:00! Pizza and drinks will be served.

On Childhood: Black Arts Festival Closing Brunch
Saturday, February 24
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Location TBA

Join Kuumba in celebrating the end of Black Arts Festival and Black History Month with a celebratory brunch. Themed “The Kid’s Birthday Party You Always Wanted (But Never Had)” participate in the ultimate throwback.

Dress Code: 1996-2008
AKA Will Smith’s last days as the Fresh Prince to Obama’s first inauguration

Come eat some good food, reminisce about a time when Tide Pods were just for laundry, and celebrate how far we’ve come (even if we still have a ways to go).