Black History Month: A Night Celebrating Creativity and Movement

The DIA kicks off Black History Month with a late night celebration, remaining open until 2 a.m. Highlights of the event include a reading by U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith and a performance by Mahogany Jones. Other events include tours, artist talks and a late night dance party. Please join us as we honor African American artistic creativity with learning, entertainment, and extended hours encompassing the theme of movement in the African American community and Detroit.

The Detroit Institute of Arts Black History Month programming for 2018 was conceived through a collaborative effort with an advisory team made up of local African American culture leaders and artists. The advisors includes Aaron Foley, Marsha Philpot, Megan Davis, Ryan Myers-Johnson, Sabrina Nelson, Sydney James, and Tylonn Sawyer.


12 – 2 p.m., 3 – 5 p.m., 6 – 8 p.m., and 9 – 11 p.m.: Artist Demonstrations: Movement & Black Activism (Great Hall, 2nd level)

4 – 6 p.m.: Artist Panel discussion on the history and future of African American artists in Detroit. (Kresge Court, 1st level)


2 – 3 p.m., 5 – 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. – Midnight: Tours of the collection by artists, historians & activists (various galleries)

7 p.m.: Lecture and reading by U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: The Body's Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essence Literary Award; Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Wade in the Water (forthcoming, April 2018). In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. In June 2017, Smith was named U.S. poet laureate. She teaches creative writing at Princeton University. (DFT Auditorium, 1st level)

•    9 p.m.: Friday Night Live Performance: Mahogany Jones

Recording and performance artist, educator, and activist Mahogany Jones is a lyrical force. A 2017 recipient of the Alain Locke award from the Detroit Institute of Arts and a 2016 Kresge Arts Fellow, in August 2016 she was selected as a This Is My Year A3C performer. Jones is most renowned as four-time, undefeated champion of BET's "106 & Park" Freestyle Friday. Having shared stages with KEM, Les Nubians, The Roots, Moonchild, the late Gil Scott Heron, Lecrae, and many others, her sound of Hip-Hop Soul is melodic and spell binding. Frustrated with the objectification of women, Mahogany leveraged her latest release, "PURE," to spearhead a PURE movement in conjunction with Get Jayne and What's The Irony productions, using media, events and other campaigns to wage her war against the mistreatment of women. (Rivera Court, 2nd level)

Late Night

11 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.: Late night DJ with a special appearance by Detroit Pistons Dancers (Prentis Court, 1st level)


Black History Month programs are made possible by the generous support of Arn and Nancy Tellem.