By Najee Ali
As Black business owners continue to struggle to stay open during the pandemic, I want to highlight business owners who continue to survive while serving our community.
Marsha Tekeste is the founder and owner of Lavender Blue Restaurant Lounge on Manchester Boulevard, nestled within walking distance of the Fabulous Forum and the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. I have been a strong advocate of supporting and spending our money in our own community. Lavender Blue is one of my favorite restaurants.
It is a one-of-a-kind experience and has ambiance that is both urban and sophisticated. It is the kind of place where guests feel completely comfortable, whether dressed for a special occasion or every day casual watching sports or taking in some live music.
Considered a pillar of the community, Lavender Blue has a reputation for extraordinary jazz and blues, fabulous events, delicious food and a great atmosphere. Marsha is behind the success of Lavender Blue.
With 30 years of experience as a nightclub owner, restaurateur and special events creator, Marsha’s business savvy and innovation have enabled her to successfully create a niche in a predominantly male-driven arena.
I stopped by her restaurant for dinner upon my return from Minneapolis where I was there in support of the family of George Floyd and had a chance to speak to Marsha, who said she has been in the restaurant business “for an exceptionally long time.”
“My very first venture was The Turf Club located on Market Street in downtown Inglewood,” she said.
She said she loves the hospitality/entertainment industry and has owned and operated several lounges and sports bars from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.
She said that living and traveling internationally encouraged her to create a culture that combines music and delicious food. The crowd favorites are the fried chicken and fried catfish, as well as the Soul Food Wednesday.
“My idea was to create [a] venue that would provide a sophisticated, yet versatile entertaining and dining experience within the community,” she said. “I have a passion for entertaining and Lavender Blue allows me to entertain in a phenomenal way. No other venue in the Inglewood area offers all that we do at Lavender Blue.”
Whether hosting live entertainment events with internationally renowned musicians and artists or creating more intimate celebrations for birthdays, wedding receptions, memorials or other special occasions, Lavender Blue tries to provide guests with an unparalleled level of top-shelf service and memorable experiences.
On Sunday evenings, Lavender Blue features smooth jazz with the Jacques Lesure Trio, and on Friday evenings, various blues bands and artists perform. Guest musicians and vocalists are always welcome.
The entertainment calendar includes blues, dancing and other events throughout the month.
Another Black-owned business in Inglewood that I encourage my family and friends to support is the Wood Urban Kitchen, also located in Inglewood at 129 N. Market St.
The Wood is owned by Jonathan DeVeaux, a successful entrepreneur for over 30 years. His best-known business is the Savoy Nightclub currently closed because of the pandemic.
DeVeaux also has a heart for giving back to the community. He will frequently take to his social media accounts and ask if anyone need food to eat.
“Come on in I will feed you,” he says.
That type of generosity is hard to find, especially in the tough economic times many business owners are experiencing. I commend DeVeaux and all the business owners who are still operating and serving our community. Let us do our part and patronize a Black-owned business.
And finally, I have great news to share which I was asked to keep secret the last couple of months. This is my last blog for The Wave.
I will be writing exclusively for Ebony, a national Black publication, which has been a long-time dream and goal of mine that I have finally achieved. My first published piece is currently on the website at www.ebony.com/news/op-ed-we-can-no-longer-let-police-officers-kill-black-people-and-escape-justice-due-to-qualified-immunity/.
You can also read it on my social media accounts.
I want to thank the ownership and the editors of The Wave for allowing me the privilege of sharing important over-looked information concerning South Los Angeles. And do not worry, I am greatly confident my work and activism on behalf of the underserved will still be covered in The Wave.