• Panel of Black Panthers during Black Thursday Nightlife. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • DJ Lady Ryan laughs while DJing at NightLife Black Thursday event. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • Two guests sit in Color of Life exhibit during Black Thursday NightLife. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • Guests laughing near the dance floor during Black Thursday Nightlife. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • Three guests pose in front of the stage at Black Thursday NightLife. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • NightLife: Black Thursday guests high-five each other. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson
  • Staff from the African Outlet set up shop during NightLife: Black Thursday. Photo by Brandon Robinson
    © Brandon Robinson

Black History Month isn't just about the past, it's about understanding how this shared history informs the present and taking action to shape a better, more just future for everyone. In honor of Black History Month, we're turning up the celebration with a night all about Black joy. Get ready for lit live performances, candid conversations with Black Panther legends, a multimedia art installation that will change the way you view the word “Black,” a marketplace supporting 20+ Black-owned businesses, and a whole lot more.

Sounds by Lady Ryan

Check out Lady Ryan's exclusive NightLife: Black Thursday Playlist on the NightLife Spotify page


The Music - Lady Ryan, SOL Development, & Make History

The Music
Grab a cocktail and hit the floor with the return of Lady Ryan to NightLife. She’ll be spinning classics all night with a brief break for a performance from Oakland-based hip-hop, jazz, and soul collective SOL Development. Then Gideon Chiwinke Mekwunye II, co-founder of the breaking group Make History, will open up the dance floor and talk about the group's upcoming events.

The Talks - Bamidele Agbasegbe-Demerson & Women of the Black Panther Party

The Talks
African Hall

  • 7:30 PM - Grab a seat for Bamidele Agbasegbe-Demerson, Chief Curator of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland as he leads an engaging talk,“Interpreting Africa’s Gifts to the United States: Black American Contributions to Our Society.”
  • 8:30 PM - Hear from iconic women of the original Black Panther Party for a candid discussion about their experience as female activists. Panelists include Katherine Campbell, an artist and former chef for the Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program, Minister Gayle Dickson, a graphic artist, teacher, ordained minister, and the sole female graphic artist for the Party newspaper in the early 1970s, and anti-hunger advocate "Auntie" Frances Moore, whose work continues with the Love Mission Self-Help Hunger Program.
The Market - SF Black Wall Street & In The Black Shop

The Market
6 - 10 PM
Support Black-owned businesses and shop a marketplace with wares from 20 exceptional local Black-owned stores, curated by SF Black Wall Street and In the Black Shop. Featuring:

Art & Wellness Corner - “Black Box” by Michael Coppage, Budding Lotus Meditation, TendWell Collective, Wise Health SF

Wellness Corner
Curiosity Grove
6 - 10 PM

  • Expand your mind with the "Black Box" art installation by multi-disciplinary social activism artist Michael Coppage.
  • Take a deep breath and practice self-care with Morgan Norvell, founder and owner of Budding Lotus Meditation. Stop by her table to learn about the importance (and lack of) mental health care in Black community.
  • Loosen up and get your first session of chair yoga in with the good folks of TendWell Collective.
The Menu - Signature food and beverage offerings from Chef Rob and the Liquid Happiness team

The Menu

At the Academy Cafe

  • Soul Food Egg Rolls - BBQ chicken, collard greens, mac n cheese

  • BBQ Jerk Chicken Pizza

  • Catfish Po' Boy - Beer battered cajun catfish, spicy remoulade, lettuce, tomato, onion

At the Swamp & Aquarium Bars

  • “Noir 75” - Common Ground Gin Basil & Elderflower, lemon, honey syrup, sparkling champagne

  • “For the Culture” - Uncle Nearest whiskey, lemon, simple, orange liqueur

A few don't-miss NightLife details:
  • NightLife guests are no longer required to provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test. We still strongly encourage all guests to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations, and to mask up indoors. As always, if you’re feeling under the weather, please NightLife another time. View health and safety information here.
  • Last entry into the rainforest exhibit is 7:30 pm—our animals need their sleep.
  • Morrison Planetarium is now open at NightLife with 4 showtimes. To maximize staff and guest safety, planetarium passes are required and capacity is limited. Passes are available online in advance for an additional $5 while supplies last to reserve a seat at a 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, or 9:30 pm planetarium show. Please see our FAQs for more details. (Please note: A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis. Food and drink are not permitted inside the planetarium.)
  • Beverages are available at various bars throughout the building, but food must be enjoyed outdoors or in the Academy Café only.
  • NightLife is for adults 21+ only. Valid, physical photo ID required.
  • Still have Qs? See our FAQs here.

Planetarium Shows

8:30 pm, 9:30 pm

Discover how a deeper understanding of Earth might help us spot other living worlds light-years away.

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm

Explore the immense scale of the known Universe in this live presentation that leaves Earth far behind.

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Upcoming events

May 23rd at 6:00 pm

Why is California so special? Find out at the opening of our newest exhibition, California: State of Nature.

May 30th at 6:00 pm

Calling all creatures of the night! Explore the Academy's nocturnal side. Sounds by: DJ Mark Maiden.

June 6th at 6:00 pm

We’re bringing the spice at our hottest event of the year. Hear from spicy savants, sample fiery foods, & more.

June 13th at 6:00 pm

Honor Black contributions to global dance with a special Juneteenth edition of the Make History dance battle.

June 20th at 6:00 pm

Inked is back at NightLife! Explore the wonders of ink from cephalopods to live tattoos–yes, the real kind!

June 27th at 6:00 pm

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with a night dedicated to community, activism & joy. Featuring drag by Oaklash.