Throwback Thursday: Lenox Lounge
During the Harlem Renaissance, Lenox lounge was LIT. Great jazz legends like Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Miles Davis blessed the mic while activist and literary geniuses like Malcolm X, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes sat in the audience. Just Groovin.’ No BIG deal. Just a regular night at Lenox Lounge. Today, there are no more nights at Lenox Lounge. Boarded up and chained closed, Lenox Lounge will soon be a memory. The word on the street is that we’ll be saying goodbye to Lenox Lounge and we might be saying hello to Sephora. Located between 125th and 124th street and Lenox avenue, the rich 73 years history of this historic jazz club of Harlem will be demolished soon. Before we say Goodbye to Lenox Lounge, learn about the history and some of the dope filming that took place at this iconic jazz bar of Harlem.
The History of Lenox Lounge
A bright brick red building, with large white art deco neon lights; Lenox Lounge first opened its doors in 1939. Once those doors flew open, due to the Harlem Renaissance breeze, the Lounge became an epic center for the black artist, activist, and the Harlem community. It was known for its infamous Zebra room, not to be confused with the Boom Boom room, where all artist performed. Can you imagine such a place? Where you might sit next to Malcolm X at a bar – If it was 1962; Or, you might walk by and see J.Lo shooting a scene from New York Undercover- If it was 1994. There is so much history in the walls of the Lounge. If Lenox Lounge walls could talk, I would shut up and listen. Below is a list of dope films, tv shows and music videos that happen in the walls of Lenox Lounge.
Famous Filming in Lenox Lounge
- American Gangsta
- Mad Men pilot episode
- New York Undercover with jLO
- Madonna’s Secret music video
- Quincy Jones CD cover
- Music videos by Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, Keith Sweat, P. Diddy
The Future of Lenox Lounge
In 2012, at the height of what I call the gentrification real-estate renaissance, Lenox Lounge closed its doors. Rent went from 10,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars. At first, everyone tired to keep hope alive with hopes that the Lounge would reopen. Now, that the Lounge has been closed for 5 years and with rumors floating around that Sephora might replace it, all hope has died. Lenox Lounge history will crumble and Harlem will lose another historical building. With big businesses like Whole Foods, American Eagle and Burlington Coat factory right across the street, Lenox Lounge didn’t stand a chance.
Lenox Lounge maybe taken away from the community, but the spirits and music of all the legendary black artist and activist that passed through its door will live on forever-even if it’s just on this webpage. If you have the time I encourage you to walk by the boarded up Lounge to see the remains and say your goodbyes.