Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Black-owned café in Sherman Heights opens doors to public, creates space to build generational wealth

Coffee and culture are now being served at a black-owned cafe in Sherman Heights. KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere says it’s not just about coffee. The cafe’s owners want to create generational wealth in marginalized communities.

The opening of Café X: By Any Beans Necessary in Sherman Heights was filled with music, dance and lots of caffeine and baked goodies.

Co-owner and founder, Khea Pollard opened the shop with her mother, Cynthia Ajani, and said the timing couldn't be better.

“With the legacy of Malcolm X inspiring this journey, this vision, it's super important to really commemorate that. And take this time during Black History month, and really all months, to really move that forward,” Pollard said. “So for us it's powerful and it's energizing because it's going to set us up for the rest of the year.”

Jacob Aere
Nana Obrafo Yaw Asiedu plays the drums outside of Café X: By Any Beans Necessary, Feb. 28, 2022.

Latoya Mckelvin and Kourtney Jones live nearby and have been looking forward to the grand opening of the café.

For the two women, it's about supporting others who are from the same racial and cultural background to break the cycle of socioeconomic inequality.

Plus, they said it's a great place to work and enjoy some phenomenal coffee.

“I love supporting black-owned businesses. Black-owned, women-owned—come on now, to me that's a trifecta,” Mckelvin said. “I like to make sure that I’m voting with my dollars and let my money circulate back into communities that need it and help to support entrepreneurship.”

cafe x customers.jpg
Matthew Bowler
Friends Latoya Mckelvin and Kourtney Jones sit and talk in the courtyard of Café X: By Any Beans Necessary, Feb. 28, 2022.

The new café, located just east of the I-5 freeway, is nestled alongside other like-minded creatives and small-business owners in the same building.

After having to previously shut down their business due to pandemic-related struggles, Pollard and her mother were overcome with joy, and are already planning out what’s ahead.

“It’s going to be continuous activation of the space, really thinking through some of the creative projects that we’re doing. The Black women’s resilience project that we are working on and many others that will come,” Pollard said. “Planning those out thoughtfully so that we can move issues, tackle issues in our community and do it in a collaborative way, and in a way that’s fun.”

Jacob Aere
Dancers from Visionary Dance Theatre perform at the grand opening of Café X: By Any Beans Necessary, Feb. 28, 2022.

Pollard said the café hosts paid internship opportunities for historically underserved youth from the area.

The goal of those positions is to inspire a future generation of entrepreneurs and leaders who could eventually become owners in the cooperative.