This month, Gorilla Rx Wellness, the first Black-woman-owned dispensary in Los Angeles, celebrated two impactful years with A Great Day on Crenshaw: an all-day block party at their flagship location on Crenshaw Boulevard. The block has historical ties to the brand’s mother and daughter founders, who are known as the “Kikas.” Kika Keith and daughter Kika Howze have lived most of their lives in this neighborhood and this event has become a joyous tradition as a signifier of the great accomplishments that “The House The People Built” has made as a mighty symbol which fights for a more equitable industry with the community at heart of everything they stand for.
Canna, Coffee And Conversation: Community Festivities With Gorilla Rx Wellness
The event kicked off with a morning ‘Breathe Good’ vinyasa yoga session with Walk Good LA, a Black and family-owned community wellness organization based in Los Angeles, dedicated to bringing people from all walks of life together to heal in solidarity through the arts, health, and wellness. After finding its center, the day continued with festivities that highlighted Gorilla Rx’s growth and new developments with “Canna, Coffee, and Conversation” hosted by the Kikas. This program was sponsored by Venice Beach community favorite coffee shop Little Lunch, which also hosted an in-store edibles pop-up with their cannabis line Paradise Club. “Canna, Coffee, and Conversation” took place in the new Gorilla University incubator space that recently launched next door to the Gorilla Rx dispensary.
What's Next For Gorilla University? Gorilla Rx Wellness And METRC Partner For Free Job Training
Overall, Black entrepreneurs typically receive less than 2 percent of all venture capital dollars each year while companies led by Black women receive less than 1 percent, according to data from Crunchbase (cited from CNBC News). With a recently launched INDIEGOGO fundraising campaign and winning a state-funded 3.3 million-dollar grant, the plan for Gorilla University is to further empower and create access to those that have been shut out of the industry. The Kikas and the Gorilla Rx team are doing this by partnering with cannabis regulatory systems provider METRC to execute free job training, as the lack of availability for this type of training prevents people from being able to reach higher level positions within any cannabis retail space. This space will also house community events which include expungement clinics offering free live scans and legal services to help people clear their records.
Gorilla Rx Wellness Launches The Color Collection Flower Line And The Black Book Shopping Experience For Black-Owned Businesses
The Kikas gave an empowered presentation about these new developments, which also include a new product line called The Color Collection featuring labels of Pink, Blue, and Black, each with their own flavor profiles and vibes. Gorilla Rx Wellness celebrated the drop of their new flower line with activations featuring a roll bar and other Black-owned businesses’ experiences throughout the day. The streets were filled with music, showcasing a power-packed lineup of DJs which included Ashley Younniä, Mister Felder, DJ Q, and DJ Bontalem, while food trucks, Double Dutch and games filled the block to energize Crenshaw Boulevard. The CalyFX bus pulled up and offered a smoking lounge experience for guests throughout the day.
Gorilla Rx also put together The Black Book Shopping experience, featuring small Black-owned businesses that featured key leaders and authenticators with the community; the program served as a South Central Guide to Black Enterprise. Featured entrepreneurs and brands included Erica Dickerson of the Good Moms Bad Choices podcast, who was hosting live from the dispensary along with Exotic Fever Hot Sauce; and Kim Alex Hall of ‘What Would My Higher Self Do?”, and Back to Me Skin Care. Food options were plentiful with vendors such as Pineapple Express, who pulled up with their delicious pineapple bowls; Crenshaw Juice, LA Fruitcart, and DD'z Treatz were offering delicious citrus treats; while Wholly Mother Vegan, Trap Kitchen and daiquiri mobile cart IcyLA filled out the evening to ensure that hearts and bellies stayed full.
A Great Day On Crenshaw Portrait And The Gorilla Film Club Conclude Gorilla Rx Wellness's Celebration
In time-honored tradition, it was now the moment for the Great Day on Crenshaw Portrait. The Gorilla Rx team and event guests gathered in front of the shop to capture an image of the neighborhood that inspires them daily. The memorable image taken by iconic photographer Mark Clennon encapsulated the spirit of the day as after the photo was taken, Kika Keith’s mother got up to start the Electric Slide with event guests following. Cars passing by wanted some of the fun as three generations of transformative women led a beautifully communal moment full of dance and laughter.
The day ended with the return of the Gorilla Film Club, an outdoor movie experience in partnership with L.A.-based collective Supervsn, which is focused on producing experiences which inspire creativity. Event goers were treated to culture classic film Set It Off, a 1996 American heist crime action film starring Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise with pre-game sounds by DJ Brick of Ebony Beach Club.
A Great Day on Crenshaw celebrated the movement Gorilla Rx has put in motion with a day of joy as they continue to lead impactful change by putting community first.
For more about Gorilla Rx Wellness, visit gorillarxwellness.com. To learn more about Gorilla University, call The Gorilla University hotline at 818-570-1548 and follow @GorillaRxWellness on Instagram.
Shirley Ju is a journalist, media host, and seasoned music industry professional. She is the founder of Shirley's Temple, a podcast series with a focus on mental health, where her guests include Trippie Redd, Chanel West Coast, Ricky Williams, Blac Chyna, and more. Shirley's work has been featured in publications such as Variety, Complex, Nylon, Flaunt, and REVOLT; she can also be seen doing exclusive interviews for leading urban news source VLADTV, featuring a platform with 5 million subscribers. Find out more about Shirley at @shirju on Instagram and Twitter, and on LinkedIn.
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Featured image: The crowd gathers for the Great Day on Crenshaw Portrait, led by Gorilla Rx Wellness founders Kika Keith and Kika Howze (center) (C) Mark Clennon @mark.c