Odds are you recognize Lena Waithe from Aziz Ansari’s Netflix hit, Master of None. In it, she plays Denise, a suave Brooklyn lesbian always lending sound relationship advice to her hapless bud Dev (Ansari). With the success of the series, Waithe has garnered breakout attention, embodying a new breed of LGBT character whose sexual orientation is not a talking point but a minor detail. Waithe is currently at the helm of her own projects, producing Showtime’s new drama series The Chi, alongside Common, and developing a half-hour comedic pilot for Hulu. Though the Chicago native travels coast to coast for work, she gladly calls Los Angeles home—maybe because it’s the perfect city in which to keep her sneakers squeaky-clean.
1. My Two Cents
“Whenever I want to eat some hearty soul food and not feel bad about it, I come here. It’s a black-owned restaurant — which is beautiful and rare — and the owner used to be Common’s personal chef. When you walk in, the staff treats you like a rap star.” 5583 W. Pico Blvd.; MyTwoCentsLA.com
2. Sky’s Gourmet Tacos
“This is the only place in L.A. where you can get a crawfish burrito, sip sorrel lemonade, and listen to some old-school R&B. There’s a large menu, but everything is good. It’s also the ideal spot to take someone on a third date or spill some tea with an old friend.” 5408 W. Pico Blvd.; SkysGourmetTacos.com
3. Amoeba Music
“I’m a hipster through and through. So Amoeba Music is naturally one of my happy places. I can buy Barbra Streisand on vinyl, an N.W.A. T-shirt, and some random black movie that very few people know about on Blu-ray, all in one location.” 6400 Sunset Blvd.; Amoeba.com
4. Flight Club
“My name is Lena Waithe and I’m a sneaker head. This place is like a crack house for my kind. They literally have every shoe you can think of. They might not always have your size, but still, there’s something cool about finding your dream kick and walking up to the counter and seeing if they have your fit. If they do, splurge! Otherwise it would be like winning the lottery and not cashing in the ticket.” 503 N. Fairfax Ave.; FlightClub.com
5. Ninth Chapter Barbershop
“Since half my head is shaved and I’m a girl, I find myself in need of a barber at least once a week. But I’m a lesbian and I’m not too eager to be in a barbershop surrounded by straight men pretending to get more ass than they actually do. This shop is a tiny piece of heaven on Fairfax: It’s black- and gay-owned, and every barber is female.” 359 N. Fairfax Ave.
6. Jason Markk
“Head here to drop off dirty sneakers, and when you pick them up they’ll look brand-new. This is a great find for an OCD sneaker head like me who wants to keep her shoes fresh all the time (particularly my Yeezys).” 329 E. 2nd St.; JasonMarkk.com
7. Sun Nails
“I love this place. I get the ‘lesbian manicure,’ meaning my nails get cut really short with a buff and shine. Mindless reality TV is always on in the background, and it’s the best time to watch because you won’t feel guilty.” 2616 W. Sunset Blvd.