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About Us

About Black in Los Angeles (BlackNLA)

BlackNLA is a Black-centered digital cultural movement with the mission of raising awareness of, celebrating, and supporting Black-owned businesses, events and lifestyle information for the Los Angeles area.

Founded in March 2000 by Cherice Calhoun in response to the fragmented and difficult-to-find information in the emerging digital landscape, BlackNLA initially sought to share information about Black-owned businesses and culturally relevant information for Southern California in one streamlined and easy-to-find online community. And that legacy and mission continues today.

For the geographically dispersed and culturally diverse Black communities of Southern California, BlackNLA is a digital resource that easily helps community members find services tailored to their needs while supporting the economic advancement of the Black community. More than just a directory, BlackNLA was also founded on the vision of helping Black business owners build generational wealth by giving their brands more exposure and patronage while also economically enhancing the communities in which they operate.  

The site has become a trusted resource for residents of Southern California as well as Black workers and tourists in the area. Patrons can discover a wealth of information regarding restaurants, health and beauty services, organizations, music, events, and more–many headed by Black community members.

And as the community evolves and needs shift and grow, BlackNLA seeks to grow with it. To continue in its mission of serving the Black community in the LA area, BlackNLA is expanding its efforts by adding new categories of information and resources in the near future, including a Parents and Kids section, Senior Living, Who’s Who in Los Angeles, Visitor Information, and an expanded LA Community page.

Since its inception, BlackNLA has helped enhance a sense of community between the Black residents, tourists, and workers of Southern California. Events over the years include after-work mixers and happy hours, group travel to various domestic and international locations, movie screenings, and an annual toy drive aimed at spreading joy for some of the area’s most underserved children.

We invite you to explore BlackNLA and become part of the movement for Black innovation, solidarity, community, and economic advancement today.  

Our Leadership

Cherice Calhoun
Founder and President of BlackNLA

Entrepreneur, organizer, and ardent advocate for the Black community, Cherice Calhoun is a native of the Los Angeles area and Founder and President of BlackNLA. Calhoun’s innovative work with the organization has earned both her and BlackNLA national and local recognition in a variety of categories including the technology, entrepreneurship, and community service sectors.

Calhoun founded BlackNLA in March 2000 out of personal frustration. As she searched the then-young web for information on local Black-owned businesses and Black-sponsored events, she found a lot of information, but it was spread out across many different sites. What if, she wondered, there was one streamlined place those wanting to learn more about LA area Black businesses and events could go versus remembering or bookmarking multiple sites. Out of Calhoun’s frustrations, BlackNLA was born.

Bringing the digital platform to life wasn’t easy. As someone without a background in technology or website construction, Calhoun spent hours poring over her keyboard and instructional books learning the ins and outs of building a site and eventually built it herself.

When the site launched in early 2000, it featured only events and business. However, steered by Calhoun’s vision that the site would be a place of community interaction, she accepted feedback from her community members—and still does—to build the site into the robust platform it is today. The BlackNLA site currently boasts information tailored to the Southern California Black community, encompassing travel, career resources, news, organizations, and more.

Under Calhoun’s innovative and community-minded leadership, the site has grown into more than just a directory. The site now serves as a place for community building through local events as well as a source of economic enhancement for Black business owners and the communities they serve.

Calhoun earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California-Riverside.  As a native of Los Angeles, Calhoun is committed to supporting local organizations by giving back to the community.

Calhoun and BlackNLA.com have received the following awards and recognition:

  • 2004 Master of Technology Awarded by Recycling Black Dollars
  • 2006 Entrepreneurship Award presented by Urban Influence Magazine.
  • 2011 SoftSheen-Carson recognition BlackNLA.com as the ultimate resource for the African American community in Los Angeles.
  • 2011 Divine Nine Award in recognition of contributions to the community by the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals.
  • 2013 Recognized by the Los Angeles Wave newspaper as one of LA’s Most Influential African Americans.
  • Received the Black Business Association’s (BBA) Community Based Business of the Year Award at their 2014 Annual Salute to Black Women In Business.
  • 2015 Recognized for Community Service by Heads Up Foundation at Annual Gala.
  • 2016 Drew Child Development It Takes a Village Community Angel Award.

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