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Los Angeles Sees A Stunning Rise In Black-Owned Cafes

By Parker Diakite

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Residents in South Los Angeles are making their message clear: they like their coffee black – as in Black-owned. 

From Inglewood, View Park, Windsor Hills, and Jefferson Park, and neighborhoods in between, South Los Angeles is currently undergoing a cultural renaissance where the number of Black-owned cafes has increased in the last year. 

According to the LA Eater, it all began when Magic Johnson’s “Starblacks” closed in Ladera Heights. For 20 years, Starblacks served as a safe space where African- Americans could talk news of days, work remotely, host meetings, and play games. 

Its departure was significant from this historic African- American community. 

Like many other major cities around the country, people of color are feeling the effects of gentrification –with chains like Starbucks being a leading indicator that housing prices are about to spike and a gentrifying neighborhood is right around the corner.  

Black-Coffee Shops Emerge

In that same year, Starblacks closed, Anthony Jolly opened Hot And Cool Café. The café, known for its honey lattes and trap yoga, may look familiar as it the cafe was featured on the HBO show Insecure. 

Speaking of Insecure, the show’s creator Issa Rae just recently announced that she is the newest Black-owned coffee shop co-owner in the area. Located in the View Park-Windsor Hills area, Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, a modern café where residents gather for coffee and community opened. According to LA Eater, the owners plan to open two additional locations in Los Angeles in Eagle Rock and Inglewood. 

Another hotspot that happens to be Black-owned is Sip & Sonder in downtown Inglewood. In addition to coffee and a place to grab a quick bite, Sip & Sonder has become a staple for art shows, live performances, investor clubs, and more. 

Husband and wife Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace just recently opened South LA Cafe to build something they said the Exposition Park/South Central community needed. 

Social Media Response 

“I pass by South LA Cafe and slowly saw it turn from some building with graffiti to a nice little coffee shop,” one Reddit user said. “It’s perfect and what I’ve been wanting close by for a long time.”

“This makes me happy. Businesses owned by locals! More of this, bravo! Go southside!” another Reddit user stated. 

“That’s awesome. I’m glad the residents are owning shops catering to their communities.” 

So, which one are you trying first, fam? 

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