WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY KWYN TOWNSEND RILEY

What You Need to Know:

Nobody’s Darling, founded by Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle, opened a bar to in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The bar is named after notable poet Alice Walker’s poem “Be nobody’s darling. Be an outcast.”

During the pandemic, Andersonville’s Joie De Vine closed. This was one of Chicago’s only lesbian bars. Nobody’s Darling ensures that Black LGBTQIA folks will always have a place to go.

Nobody’s Darling is located at 1744 W. Balmoral Avenue, making it the second Black-owned LGBTQ bar in Chicago, alongside Jeffery Pub in South Shore, and is among the only nightlife spot in the city for Black queer women. 

In the entire nation, there are only 21 lesbian bars. This bar is historic because it is Black, queer and women-owned. 

In this bar, there is no bouncer. No bottle service. No DJ booth. No velvet rope. But there are drinks served with Black and locally owned vodka brand, Playpen, a welcome board filled with quotes by Alice Walker, and a community-liked atmosphere. 

Why You Need to Know:
Chicago has a history of producing thriving Black businesses and millionaires. With companies such as Ebony, Jet, and Harpo Studios, Chicago has been home to many Black success stories. In fact, five of the nation’s 25 largest Black banks are located on Chicago’s South Side. 

But during the pandemic, the number of active Black-owned businesses in the U.S. plummeted 41%, according to data from the University of California Santa Cruz. Large banks approved 60 percent of loans sought by White business owners and 50 percent by Latino or Hispanic, but only 29 percent by Black small business owners, according to a Brookings Institutions April 2020 report.

It is hard to be Black and own a business. It is even harder to be Black, queer, and own a business.

Chicago has a history of exclusion, particularly of Black queer folks. We need to make sure we support all Black businesses, including our Black LGBTQIA family.