Men of Change: Taking it to the Streets

By ReelPlan (other events)

Saturday, April 24 2021 7:00 PM 10:30 PM EST

A special film commissioned by the Smithsonian. Through a compilation of short films, five contemporary artists convey nuanced Black male experiences. 


  • 7:00pm -- The parking lot opens and guests check-in begins
  • 8:20pm -- The parking lot CLOSES. No cars will be allowed into the lot after this time.
  • 8:30pm -- The film begins

In heralding the contributions of notable African American men from across the decades, Men of Change highlights deep parallels between the past and present. While they made their mark in a variety of disciplines—politics, sports, science, entertainment, business, religion, and more all understood the value of asserting their own agency by owning their own stories.

Join the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum and Union Market for a special drive-in movie event showcasing a series of original short artistic films from the Men of Change exhibition. Through creative expression, four contemporary artists articulate black male experiences through depictions of various Men of Change who are featured in the exhibition. The films include: Alvin Ailey, a depiction of Alvin Ailey by Cary Fagan; Godchild, a depiction of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong by AG Rojas; A person is more important than anything else…, a depiction of James Baldwin by Hank Willis Thomas; and Light Side Dark Side, a depiction of Dick Gregory by Shaunté Gates. The evening concludes with a film by former Halcyon fellow and local DC artist, Kokayi, entitled ...on dreams. 

The presentation of Men of Change: Taking it to the Streets is organized by the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). It’s based on the SITES traveling exhibition Men of Change: Power: Triumph. Truth. which was made possible through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.  

Men of Change: Taking it to the Streets is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. Media sponsorship is provided by the Washington Informer Newspaper. Venue sponsorship is provided by EDENS and Union Market District, and projections powered by PEPCO.

Images credits: 

  • Light Side Dark Side [Dick Gregory], 2018. Shaunté Gates. Courtesy of the artist.
  • Alvin Ailey [Alvin Ailey], 2018. Cary Fagan. Courtesy of the artist.
  • A person is more important than anything else… [James Baldwin], 2014. © Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy of the artist & Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.
  • Godchild [Duke Ellington/John Coltrane/Miles Davis/ Louis Armstrong], 2018. AG Rojas. Courtesy of the artist.

By attending the event, you agree to follow these critical policies for the safety of the event staff, the market staff, and your fellow film-goers. 

Smithsonian or Union Market has the right to remove anyone from the event who does not follow these policies.


  • By attending the Drive-In film you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
  • No refunds or exchanges. If you cannot use your reservation, we recommend giving it to a friend to use.
  • No walk-up or bike-in guests. All attendees must arrive in an enclosed motor vehicle, and must remain inside the vehicle at all times, except to use the restrooms in accordance with the procedure set forth below.
  • You must remove any trash you bring in or create during the film. There are no public waste receptacles available.
  • In case of an emergency, you will be directed to an appropriate exit by parking lot staff. Please stay inside your vehicles.


  • Enter the lot from 6th Street. There is one entrance into the lot.
  • Please have your ticket ready for scanning.
  • All films are broadcast to your car’s FM radio. Please be aware of how to put your car in Accessory mode, as engine idling is prohibited. If your car is not equipped with a radio, we recommended bringing one. The FM signal cannot be tuned into using a smartphone. There are no loudspeakers.
  • All films are also shown with Open Captions, when available.


  • Due to our parking lot arrangement, no vehicle may back into a space. ALL VEHICLES FACE FORWARD.
  • Large or tall vehicles will be guided to park on the sides, or back of the lot.
  • The decision to direct your car to a specific space is at the discretion of the lot staff.  Failure to follow these instructions may result in your removal from the event.  
  • Once parked, you may not drive away until instructed by event staff.
  • FOR SAFETY REASONS, NO CARS WILL BE ADMITTED AFTER THE LOT IS CLOSED. Lot open/close times are posted on the ticketing website and in your confirmation email. We suggest arriving early for spaces closest to the screen.
  • ONCE PARKED, YOU MUST STAY IN YOUR CAR. All guests must stay inside the vehicle at all times. There is no picnicking on the grounds, nor on your car’s roof, hood, truck, or truck’s bed. The only reason to leave your vehicle is to pick up a food order or use the restroom. Please follow procedures for each of these actions listed below.
  • NO ENGINE IDLING. Because we park cars closely together, your engine exhaust will affect the safety of others.  You may start your engine periodically to keep the battery fresh, but for no more than one minute.
  • OPENING WINDOWS. Your vehicle’s left side windows may be fully opened. The right side windows may be cracked no more than two inches to allow for increased airflow.


  • In the event of a rain forecast, Thee Drive-In may announce an event cancellation by 1:00pm on the day of the event. Your ticket may be used for the rescheduled rain date, to be announced.
  • While the film is running, in the event of light rain, the film will continue. In the event of a thunderstorm, event staff will decide whether to continue or cancel the event. Cars will be allowed to exit the lot when it is safe to do so, and only under the direction of Drive-In staff.

Mailing Address

916 G Street NW Studio 203 Washington, DC 20001