The City of West Hollywood is all boarded up with plywood following the looting and violence that took place in certain parts of the city on May 30. Non-affiliates who latched themselves to the Black Lives Matter Movement used the peaceful protests as cover to graffiti walls, break windows and loot certain WeHo businesses.
The business community responded by hammering plywood on windows and doors to protect their businesses. The plywood remains on local restaurants, bars, and retail spaces to deter would-be looters and vandals, as citywide protests continue to march through various parts of the city on a daily basis.
Some businesses took the plywood and made works of art and used the boarded-up windows to send messages of solidarity with the black community. From Pump restaurant, to Tom Tom, to Hugos restaurant, to Gold Coast Bar, to Gym Bar, to name a few, all showed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and sent positive messages of support in creative ways.
My 12 Step Store, the recovery gift and book store located at 8730 Santa Monica, sent a message that Black Lives Matter and they highlighted their store slogan, “You Are Not Alone” with a big read heart that has the recovery bumper stickers “Happy Joyous and Free” across it.
“We wanted to be a part of this extraordinary time in history and show our support for the Black Lives Matter movement, while at the same time protecting our store from looters who are posing as protestors,” said My 12 Step Store Founder and owner RJ Holguin. “We have received so much positive responses for the artwork, that we may consider leaving one of the boarded up windows in a smaller scale to keep sending the message.”
David Cooley’s The Abbey Food and Bar and The Chapel bar took a street artistic approach with graffiti art. They tagged the plywood with the hashtag, “#BLM” and repeated George Floyd’s name with the quote, “I Can’t Breathe.”
Larry Block’s Block Party gay retail store, located at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd., also posted two art pieces on their storefront. The artwork created by Los Angeles comic artist, Courtney (@boy.courtney on Instagram) acknowledges Pride Month and links it to the Black Lives Matter symbol. “This work is meant to inspire, as I am inspired by the collective action of people making their voices heard,” Courtney said of his two murals. “🌈❤️🌈 Happy Pride Month!”
Revolver Video Bar located at 8851 Santa Monica Blvd, on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Palm Avenue, painted a mural facing Santa Monica Boulevard with a multicolored fist in the air and the words “BLM, Love & Support.” A mural facing Palm Avenue acknowledges Black trans lives with the message, “Remember Who Fought For These Spaces. Blacks Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter.”
Chris Miller, the owner of Revolver Video Bar summed it up best:
“This little corner on Santa Monica Blvd. has been the center of laughter, tears, arguments and defeats for over 40 years,” he wrote on his social media. “People fought for us… and we will fight for you. Our Pride decorations this year are plywood panels and we’re okay with that, because this is bigger than that. We love you and support you. #BlackLivesMatter”
The plywood in West Hollywood will most likely remain, at least past this weekend, when several marches are planned during what would have been the LA Pride celebration.