Kamasi Washington performing at The Underground Museum in 2018
Photo: Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for ProjectArt
Black-Owned Music Venues To Support Now
Black Music Month has come and gone, but the legacy of Black music continues to thread the fabric of the industry as a whole. As Black artists, producers, songwriters, and executives continue to champion the music, the need for places that center and celebrate it is more important now than ever — especially those that are Black-owned. But on the heels of a pandemic, remaining independent and Black-owned or -operated is a feat. Thanks to the work of organizations like the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) lobbying on behalf of indie venues, many places will be able to keep their doors open and continue celebrating both the history and future of Black music.
The Recording Academy's Los Angeles Chapter continues to celebrate Black music and, as the support for independent Black-owned venues is essential, has partnered with GRAMMY.com to highlight a few of them.
"With the re-opening of live music venues and performance spaces this June in Los Angeles during Black Music Month, it was important for us to highlight a number of Black-owned music venues that we are looking forward to supporting once again in our markets of Southern California, Southern Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and beyond! May it be a bit of jazz or Afrofunk, or a star-studded album release party, these venues have always put Black music creators first and have created a family and community home for them to return to and us all to enjoy," said Qiana Conley, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chapter.
Be sure to seek out and support venues in your local area as live music makes its anticipated comeback. Here are a few Black-owned venues within Los Angeles and beyond.
The Underground Museum
The Underground Museum is a cultural hub for Black art, film and music situated in Los Angeles’ Mid City neighborhood. Late painter Noah Davis founded the space in 2012 with his wife, sculptor Karon Davis. Although Noah passed in 2015, the Underground Museum’s legacy of providing fine art to a community not often privy to it, continues to live on. As a staple in the community, it offers a bookstore and in the past has featured yoga classes and exhibitions from fine artists. Steeped in Black excellence and creativity, it didn’t take long for it to garner the attention of both renowned figures in the art community and celebrities, including John Legend and Solange Knowles who have launched albums there. The museum’s inviting garden has hosted film screenings, including Oscar-award winning director Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.
3508 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Pip’s On La Brea
Opened in the summer of 2010 by Derrick Pipkin, Pip’s on La Brea fuses the Italian cuisine of Master Chef Luis Carrizo Salvat and live jazz on the weekends — including Avant Garde Trio, Barbara Morrison, and more. Its newly renovated patio space offers a cozy atmosphere for patrons to enjoy especially for their Sunday brunch.
1356 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Afro Caribbean Nights Vegas
For a night of Afrobeat, Reggae, Reggaeton, Dancehall, Hip-hop, SOCA, Lovers Rock, and R&B in Vegas, this is the place to be. A lounge atmosphere, they have a roster of house DJs whose job it is to make you move.
1079 E Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Established in 2012, The Nash houses great Jazz music and educational programming. The venue was named after renowned drummer Lewis Nash who was born and raised in Phoenix. Nash both performs and participates in the programming for students. The venue is also the headquarters for Jazz in Arizona, a nonprofit that supports and honors the history of Jazz as an original American art form founded in 1977.
110 E Roosevelt St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
Brandishing the namesake of the Queen of Soul herself, the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater is one of the only venues of its kind. Located in Detroit, it is operated and managed by entertainment programming professional Shahida Mausi’s company, the Right Productions. The 6,000 capacity venue is a City of Detroit Recreation Department Facility and has hosted the likes of Chaka Kahn, Mint Condition, Kendrick Lamar, and too many more to name.
2600 Atwater Street.
Detroit, MI 48207
Bethesda Blues & Jazz Super Club
Run by Earl Ciccel’s company, the historic, Black-operated venue seats 500 and remains an integral tour stop for both emerging and legacy acts. At the start of the pandemic, it was uncertain whether they would be able to continue operating, but with new shows on the bill for August, they’ve thankfully pulled through.
7719 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20842