Black Spaces, Black Faces is a series of profile stories highlighting Black-owned safe spaces, businesses, and venues in the Chicagoland area. Its goal is to provide an outlet for the Black consumer on how to continue to circulate the dollar in the Black community of Chicago.
Nestled on the South Side of Chicago at the intersection of 43rd and Cottage sits a hidden gem: Some Like It Black, a Black-owned creative arts bar.
It’s been less than a year since the space has opened, but people are starting to notice. Founder Kelli Rich originally developed the name over 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until late last year that the physical location in Bronzeville came to life.
“Some Like It Black stemmed from a song I wrote back in 1999. The song praised all the wonderful qualities of Black people,” Rich told the Defender.
The intimate venue is becoming a hub for conversation, a viable café-style workspace for young professionals and after-work gatherings for live entertainment, art and poetry shows.
On any given day, you can hear live-music, poetry or neo-soul like playlists in the café blaring along 43rd street.
Not only is it working, but also it’s filling a void. “We have poetry every Thursday, live music every Tuesday, and art shows for up and coming artists in the community,” said Micah Crawford, Vice President. “Word of mouth has always been a tool that has brought people from many walks of life to our space. The vibe that we have created over the years has built a brand that speaks for itself.”
The café adds to a growing community of Black-owned spaces on 43rd street. It sits corner adjacent to Just Turkey, and just blocks from Room 43, along with a new Black-owned music venue expected to pop up within the next year. Some might even call it a resurgence of a Black Renaissance.
In addition to its entertainment, there are a couple of other notable things about Some Like It Black. It’s artwork and most certainly the food and refreshments.
If there’s one thing that stands out, it’s the café’s most popular drink: BLK GRL MGC. “BLK GRL MGC, surprisingly, was actually the last thing that made it on the menu,” said Crawford. “Activated charcoal has many health benefits so I decided to add it to lemonade to tie into our name and beliefs.”
Some Like It Black not only has great food, but it provides a healthy alternative. As food and liquor stores continue to dominate the South Side of Chicago, healthy, organic options are both a hot commodity and rarity these days. It’s why the owners wanted to provide this healthy alternative.
“Our communities are stricken with food that does not have our best health interests at heart,” said Crawford. “We decided to add an organic cafe to Some Like It Black to offer an alternative to the consumers in the neighborhood. We have many organic options, such as all of our smoothies, and our meat is free of antibiotics and USDA certified organic.”
As stories of discrimination continue to unfold in neighborhoods like River North in Chicago, it’s very important for the Black community to support businesses created for us, and by us. Especially when gentrification appears to be creeping into neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Englewood, Bronzeville and South Shore.
“Supporting black businesses is extremely important because we need to recycle our dollars within our communities,” said Crawford. “With gentrification strongly on the rise, it is imperative that we made our voice be heard through our economics. “
Some Like It Black is located at 810 E. 43rd Street. You can find more information about the cafe via their Facebook page.