At Visit Phoenix, we celebrate Black stories year-round and, as part of Black History Month, we'd like you to meet some of the Black movers, shakers and tastemakers who have enriched Phoenix as purveyors of culture through such mediums as cuisine, the arts and entrepreneurship.
We're proud to introduce you just a snapshot of Phoenix's Black community, and invite you to support them this February and all year long.
For more information on Black-owned business, visit our partner The Black Chamber of Arizona.
One of our favorite things to share is the ever-growing collection of street art in Phoenix. While work by many talented artists decorates the streets of our city, in 2020 two noteworthy pieces have added Black narratives to the landscape.
As part of Black History Month, nearly 30 walls in downtown and central Phoenix received meaningful makeovers. For each day in February, a mural celebrating Black heroes, icons, activists, athletes, musicians and more, was added to the city's vibrant collection of street art. Check out our guide to this collection of work and head out on a self-guided mural tour.
Black Lives Matter
This Black Lives Matter-themed mural wall went up in June, amid peaceful marches for social justice. The mural is a composite of six individual works that depict both the bright and the dark sides of being Black in America, and it's further unified by the flowers integrated throughout. Contributing artists, from left to right, include MDMN, Nyla Lee, Muta Santiago, Clyde, Ashley Macias, and Giovannie Dixon.
Downtown Phoenix also welcomed a nine-story installation of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin. Created by the talented local artist Antoinette Cauley, this piece features the bust of the "Notes of a Native Son" author surrounded by his words: "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. (Header image by Biannca Dominguez, True North Studios.)
More murals — including tributes to Prince and Malinda Curtis, one of the most colorful characters of the city’s past — can be found around town. From the work of local artist Isaac Caruso, which includes portraits of Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Nipsey Hussle, and Kobe and Gigi Bryant at several drive-thru coffee shops across the city, to the 11/2 Street Mural Alley behind The Churchill in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, here are some of our must-see murals.
Events & More
While Phoenix is used to hosting visitors for pro sports, lively outdoor concerts and delicious food festivals, you'll have to wait a bit longer for the these events to return. However, here are a few spots you can visit in the meantime as well as ways to — safely — stay in touch with what's going on for now.
As the host and organizer of the Buy Black Marketplace, Archwood Exchange is dubbed a hub for Black business in Phoenix. Thanks to its cooperative-inspired setup, this is where businesses can sell their products in a brick-and-mortar environment without the high costs of overhead. The online shop that offers an eclectic mix of fashion and accessories, such as graphic T-shirts and straw hats. Follow Archwood Exchange on Facebook for vendor information and future event details.
Since 1971, the Arizona Informant has provided an important voice for the Black community throughout the state. Fifty years later, the family owned and operated newspaper continues to capture the attention of the Black community and others. Published every Wednesday, this is the only Black-owned weekly newspaper in the state. Follow Arizona Informant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and community coverage.
1301 E. Washington St., Suite 101, Phoenix
This multi-tenant small business launchpad is the brainchild of Kristine Parker, owner of the mobile juice bar So Juicy Cafe, and Nadira Jenkins-El of The Cutting Board Bakery and Cafe in Mesa. Parker bought the The Village location last year and has worked with Jenkins-El to make their shared dream a reality: a plant-based community that highlights "melanated businesses." Since opening in August 2020, this space has become more than your typical grab-and-go pop-up spot, it's fostered community among business owners and customers alike.
7145 N. 58th Drive, Glendale
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1991, this building once housed Phoenix Union Colored High School, a segregated school that opened in 1926. Today, it is the home of the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, a historical preservation site that is dedicated to the collection, documentation, preservation, study, and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent in Arizona. This mission is carried out through exhibitions, archives, collections and a variety of community educational programs — some of which are available online here.
"Phoenix Park," as it was called back in the 1890s, was developed by Moses Sherman, specifically to give passengers a pleasant place to wait for the next tram. Booker T. Washington spoke here in 1911 at the Great Emancipation Jubilee and W. E. B. DuBois also addressed a crowd at the park at a later date after attending a reception held in his honor by members of the Second Colored Baptist Church.
In 1914, the park was purchased by the City of Phoenix and became Eastlake Park. And, in more recent history, it has served as the home of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday celebration (until it outgrew the space), the annual Juneteenth celebration, many civil rights rallies and a starting point for marches to the Capitol.
Pictured above: The park's centerpiece is the Phoenix Arts Commission's Civil Rights Memorial, located at 16th and Jefferson streets.
Eat & Drink
"Eating is so intimate. It's very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you're inviting a person into your life."
— Maya Angelou, "Great Food, All Day Long"
When Elizabeth White opened her landmark restaurant in 1964, parts of the city were segregated. Unfazed, she was determined to provide for her family by welcoming everyone into her soul food establishment, which turned out to be her recipe for success. This Phoenix culinary legend has not only been serving up soul food in downtown Phoenix for nearly 60 years, but she's also paved the way for her family's booming chicken empire.
808 E. Jefferson St, Phoenix | 602-262-9256
Meet the self-proclaimed Minister of Craft Beer who's been saving souls one pint at a time for more than 13 years. According to Chip Mulala, craft beer from Arizona is filled with inspiration and a sense of place. Read the rest in our interview here.
Uptown: 100 E. Camelback Road, #160, Phoenix | 602-441-4677
Tempe: 1520 W. Mineral Road, Ste. 102, Tempe | 480-264-7611
At their downtown restaurant, The Breadfruit and Rum Bar, Danielle Leoni and Dwayne Allen transport diners to the middle of the Caribbean Sea with their takes on Jamaican dishes and myriad rums. Leoni was a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist in the Best Chef: Southwest category. Find out more about The Breadfruit and its owners here.
And, in case you missed it, these two have also launched the only locally owned and operated carbonated beverage company in Arizona. Check out @bigmarbleorganics for more.
108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix
Chef Stephen Jones shares why he opened his latest venture, The Larder + The Delta, for Southern cooking on downtown Phoenix's burgeoning Portland Street. Jones was a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist in the Best Chef: Southwest category. Check out our interview with Jones here.
200 W. Portland St., Phoenix
511 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix
Restaurateur Larry White paired his love of Phoenix and passion for cooking to put down his own roots and carry on his family's fried chicken empire.
Shopping Black-owned businesses just became more convenient. With the resources below, you'll be able to find what you're looking for in advance and, in some cases, order it online. If there's a visitor-facing Black-owned business in Phoenix that you would like to see in our listing, don't hesitate to drop us a line here (and thanks in advance).
No stranger to the Phoenix food scene, Jacob Cutino has spent his fair share of time in some of the Valley’s top restaurants, including Fox Restaurant Concepts and Bootleggers, working both the front and back of the house. In 2015, he took that experience and launched his company, Cutino’s Sauce Co., recognizable by the signature habanero pepper on its packaging. Find out more about how this flavor curator is heating up the Phoenix restaurant scene in our interview with him here.
Nik Fields brings the flavor — as well as a working event space for local events and entrepreneurs — to new midtown Phoenix kitchen. Building on her experience as a celebrity chef, author, philanthropist, event producer, this entrepreneur is creating a space (coming soon) where her line of artisanal seasonings, olive oils and more will be showcased in the her new dishes. Find out more in our interview with the chic chef herself here.
Check out local stores and online shops specializing in everything from sustainable clothing and vintage accessories to hats and African-inspired jewelry here.
If you're looking to support the Black community, here's a list of Black-owned restaurants, shops, and more in Greater Phoenix.
From local stages to the silver screen, Phoenix has contributed talent (and backdrops) to the entertainment industry for decades. If you're looking to become better acquainted with some of the talented individuals who hail from this city, you've come to the right place. Although most venues are not currently hosting live events, here's some history — as well as some digital options — to hold you over until our lively entertainment and nightlife returns in full force.
Operating steadfastly for the past 51 years, Black Theatre Troupe (BTT) has been chugging along, building up its own head of artistic steam as it determinedly tracks its founder’s vision to enhance the arts for the Phoenix's underrepresented communities. Today, BTT is one of the most enduring and celebrated Black theater organizations in the country, and a vital component of this city’s burgeoning performing arts profile.
1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix | 602-258-8129
When you think of major jazz destinations in the country, Phoenix may not be an obvious choice. But Jazz clubs flourished here in the ’70s, but they all but fell off the entertainment radar for decades. Since opening in 2012, The Nash has helped reignite interest in the smooth, cool innovative sounds of jazz and for its efforts, has garnered national accolades. Find out more about the venue named after Lewis Nash, an internationally acclaimed jazz drummer and Phoenix native, here.
110 E Roosevelt St., Phoenix
The Womack is a dimly-lit, retro cocktail lounge that celebrates the soul of a bygone era with classic cocktails and soulful musical stylings, including those of the Roscoe Taylor Band. Taylor, an R&B, soul and funk powerhouse who once opened for the Temptations, covers musical selections by Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and even Aretha Franklin. These days, he regularly shares the stage with keyboardist Jimmie McElroy. Find out how this musical mecca is preserving Phoenix history in out interview here.
5749 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Phoenix has had its fair share of breakout musicians over the years, including "American Idol" Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and Miss Black Arizona 1989, better known as the dance diva CeCe Peniston, to name a few. Check out dozens of songs made by artists who call Phoenix home — ranging from Brockhampton to Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra — and the playlists to enjoy them all here.
If you’re the type of movie buff who spotted the Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (pictured above) in your first time watching "Waiting To Exhale," this is the info for you. Check out our favorite movies filmed in Phoenix — starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Queen Latifah and more — and retrace their steps on your next visit here.