(Illustration by Hal Marie Saga.)

Romance the homies: Your guide to a Black-owned “Palentine’s Day”

In All About Love, bell hooks writes, “To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.” She teaches us that love is a practice meant to be expressed in all aspects of our lives–our friendships, our families and our communities. So, whether you’re spending the day (or weekend) of love solo or with friends, Valentine’s Day is a way to show a little kindness to yourself and express gratitude for the wonderful connections in your life. Here’s a guide with ways to show yourself and your friends some love and affection, from Black L.A. to you.  

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Downtown and Hollywood | Massages start at $75.

Nothing says self-care like a spa day. Desuar offers a variety of massages, waxes, scrubs, facials, CBD treatments, baths and skin tightening treatments. Try one of those couples packages with your bestie. 


Shaped Secretz Body Sculpting

Downtown | Massages start at $105.

Shaped Secretz Body Sculpting just wants you to look and feel your best. Choose from body laser liposuction, lymphatic drainage massages, lash lifts and extensions, facials, deep tissue and hot stone massages.

Dinner and Drinks

Fixins Soul Kitchen

Downtown | Entreés start at $17

At Fixins, you’re tasting a bit of home in every bite. Former NBA All-Star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife, Michelle Rhee, opened this buzzing soul food spot at L.A. Live in 2021. Here, you can find a host of Southern favorites for brunch, lunch and dinner including a creamy mac and cheese, turkey neck-boiled collard greens and fried chicken and waffles. Wash it all down with their signature Adult Kool-Aid made with Sprite and Red Kool-Aid and spiked with vodka.

(Photo: Fixins Soul Kitchen)

Rosalind’s Ethiopian Cuisine

Fairfax | Specials start at $18.

Looking for some shareable comfort food? Rosalind’s is just the place for delicious family-style meals. Try one of their expansive sampler plates that serves injera with eight sides and tibs for days: beef tibs, fish tibs, lamb tibs, chicken tibs, you name it.

1010 Wine and Events

Inglewood | Entreés start at $18.

This one’s for the grown folk. Inglewood’s only wine bar provides a prime wine tasting experience with an elevated menu that goes beyond the classic charcuterie board. In addition to sipping from the largest selection of Black-owned wines in California, bar goers can also expect to snack on charbroiled oysters and Kobe beef sliders for dinner and a sweet champagne dressed chicken and waffles platter for brunch. 

Mingles Tea Bar

Inglewood | Drinks start at $8.

A staple in the Inglewood community, Mingles Tea Bar is a venue for those who like to stop and smell the chrysanthemum. Lara Curtis’s craft premium loose leaf teas are to heal the bodies and souls of their drinkers. On Sundays, Mingles has a brunch program featuring all the breakfast classics and lunch dishes with an L.A. flair. Curtis’s mother’s peach cobbler stuffed French toast is not to be missed.


Shades of Afrika

Long Beach | Oils start at $4.

My earthy babes, this one’s for you. Shades of Afrika is a home for Black artists and artisans. Here, you’ll find books, craft aromatherapy, paintings, body oils, incense, Dashikis, essential oils and natural hair care products. The shop also offers salon services and custom frame work.


Online | Decor starts at $18.

For the friend who’s settling into their new home, send them a Jungalow gift card. Juustina Blakeney’s vivacious designs will make any space pop. Tufted pillows, affordable rugs, light-letting curtains, ceramics, coasters, quilts–Junagalow’s stunning range of decor does not disappoint. Shop Jungalow’s products online and in the home aisle at Target.

Nappily Naturals & Apothecary

Leimert Park | Teas start at $4/oz.

There’s tea for that! Nappily Naturals’s house blends work to support digestive, respiratory, brain and immune health. In addition to fresh herbs, the apothecary also offers organic tonics, body washes and butters. 

(Photo: Nappily Naturals & Apothecary)

Miletree Candles

Online | Candles start at $28.

Inspired by the tall casuarina trees, or mile trees, along the Barbados shoreline, Shanice Thompson wants everyone who lights a Miletree candle to feel the same sense of calm she felt at the beach. Each candle is made with the islands in mind: All scents feature notes of sugar cane and are made with a coconut wax.

Joeanna’s Collection

Online | Waist beads start at $17.

Fertility, maturity, protection, body awareness, showing cultural heritage– waist beads have many uses. Joeanna’s Collection crafts gorgeous waist and ankle jewelry from colorful glass beads, gemstones, plastic glow in the dark beads, and vinyl heishi beads.

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