In the not-too-distant past, many private “social” clubs did everything they could to exclude Black people, but those day are mostly gone.
Some local entrepreneurs are going one step further by creating private clubs specifically geared toward African Americans.
In LA’s historically Black West Adams neighborhood on any given day they gather to work and network. Members of a brand new private club called “The Gathering Spot” are in attendance. It’s the brainchild of Ryan Wilson and a friend.
“If you’re inside any Gathering Spot, you’ll find people in all walks of life that are building amazing things,” said Wilson, the CEO and co-founder of The Gathering Spot.
Wilson said he wanted to create a place where Black people can be “celebrated, not just tolerated.” It’s a response, he told the New York Times, to the national discussion about racial injustice dating back to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
“This campaign is about celebrating our legacy as much as it is celebrating our future,” Wilson said.
LA is the most recent location, joining others in Washington D.C. and Atlanta, all featuring an upscale restaurant and bar, concierge service and monthly events. Previous speakers at the clubs have included Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden.
This month’s topic at the West Adams location is, “Black history is alive.”
“We’re also talking about the way that we are coming together as a community and building things that are happening right now,” Wilson said.
For decades, Black people were often shut out of so-called “private clubs,” their memberships denied. But places like The Gathering Spot now give African American movers and shakers a place to meet and forge relationships that they’ve been excluded from in the past.
Wilson told the Hollywood Reporter it’s “like a think tank and a country club, minus the elitism.”
To that end, he chose West Adams on purpose instead of Beverly Hills or West Hollywood because this is where Black creative people, entrepreneurs and professionals can discuss everything from business to activism.
The Gathering Spot welcomes people from all background and ethnicities, and members currently range in age from 21 to 90.
Source: NBC Los Angeles
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