Historic Leimert Park Village is is a quaint, well-established residential and business community nestled at the foot of Baldwin Hills, the most affluent African American neighborhood in Los Angeles. Established by the Leimert Park Family, Leimert Park Village is one of LA's first planned community. It consists of tree-lined residential streets with well manicured lawns, a vibrant and culturally rich shopping district, and a small but popular park called Leimert Park Plaza that was designed by the Olmsteed Brothers most notably known for their design of New Yorks' famed Central Park.
In the 1950s, Leimert Park became a mecca for middle class African-Americans where such notables as Ella Fitzgerald, and later Mayor Tom Bradley lived. Later, with the help of The Brockman Gallery, The World Stage and KAOS Network, Leimert Park Village evolved into a hip art scene in the 1960s and 70s. Following in that tradition, 5th Street Dicks, The Lucy Florence Coffee House and Rick & Babe's carried that tradition forward.
Today, Leimert Park Village is the quiet hideaway for filmmaker John Singleton (Boys in the Hood) office, and visual artist Mark Bradford's studio. In 2006, Bradford received the Bucksbaum Award, a $100,000 prize given to one Biennial participant. Also, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway's husband is the long-time proprietor of Regency West, a rental space for special events.
Fine artist Mark Bradford talks about his craft of creating art.
Still a very vibrant cultural enclave, Leimert Park Village, has over 60 businesses, boutiques, coffee houses, restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, and performance centers. The area is known internationally and has been called "The Harlem of the West Coast".
Of note are:
- Adassa’s Island Café & Entertainment
- Ackee Bamboo Restaurant
- Africa By The Yard (African Artifacts)
- African Heritage (Fine Art, Masks & Clothes)
- Community Build (Community Development)
- Eso Won Bookstore
- Gallery Plus (Fine Art, Framing & Books)
- Heroik Entertainment (Hair Salon)
- Hisam’s (African & Urban Wear)
- Jinga Jinga
- KAOS Network
- O’ So Juicy N’ Tasty Burger
- Phillips Barbeque #1
- Queen Aminah’s Sisters' Marketplace
- Regency West (Specialty Events)
- Sika's (Master Jeweler, African Dress & Art)
- The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center
- The Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center
- The Production House Cafe
- The Vision Theater (under reconstruction)
- The World Stage Performance Gallery
- We Can Foundation (Education & Tutorial)
- West of Africa (Drums, Art & Jewelry)
- Zambezi Bazaar (Gifts, Jewelry & Books)
In 2011, The History Banner Project was installed by The Leimert Park Village Merchant Association, consisting of eighty-six images of African-American leaders, artists, and activists – from Sojourner Truth and Martin Luther King to Bessie Smith and Michael Jackson – installed on light poles around the neighborhood. Here are a few of the banners.
Leimert Park Village is conveniently located just minutes from and nearly equal distant between 4 major freeways:
- South of the 10 (Santa Monica) Freeway,
- East of the 405 (San Diego) Freeway,
- West of the 110 (Harbor Freeway) and
- North of the 105 (Century Freeway).
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Leimert Park's central location makes it a favorite destination for many events, giving it the distinction of hosting more events than all other council districts combined. Some of the more popular events include:
- The Annual Martin Luther King Day Parade
- Juneteenth Celebrations (2)
- The Leimert Park Village Book Fair
- July Jazz Festival (hosted by Councilmember Bernard C. Parks)
- The FREE Annual Leimert Park Village African Art & Music Festival
- The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting (hosted by Councilmember Bernard C. Parks)
- Kwanzaa Celebrations (2)
Leimert Park Plaza is known as for the location where many peaceful rallies, tributes and press conferences are held.
|Tribute to Whitney Houston|
It has a world-famous drum circle every Sunday that is reported to be the oldest drum circle in the city.
And, there is a lively, monthly Leimert Park Ark Walk, that expands through Leimert Park Village that attracts hundred of young and older adults that takes place the last Sunday of each month.