Creating safe spaces for queer women, non-binary and trans folks is no small feat. But that doesn't stop Alison Freed, Founder and CEO of Cherrybomb Weho. We talk to the multi-talented and fiercely-driven Alison about her goals, big plans for pride, and her favorite pieces from our new Pride Collection.
You don't want to miss this conversation.
Tell us about yourself, who is Alison Freed?
Hi! My name is Alison Freed (She/Her) and I am a voice actor, as well as the Founder and CEO of Cherry Bomb Weho, a home base and safe space for Los Angeles' lesbian, queer, trans, and non-binary community. I was born in Brussels, Belgium, and moved with my family to Boston, Massachusetts when I was seven. Then we moved to San Diego, CA., in 2004, where I joined my first band, My Elysian. I am also the lead singer of new queer LA band, “Royal She,” that is performing at Cherry Bomb’s Pride Kickoff party June 1st at Heart Weho.
Tell us more about Cherry Bomb Weho, what inspired you to start on this venture?
I moved to LA in 2011, and I was thoroughly disappointed that The L Word’s “The Planet” wasn’t a real place. Over the years, I watched all the spaces and so many nights geared towards queer women slowly disappear. I wanted to do something about it, and I first looked into creating a bar, café, restaurant, and music venue for our community in 2016. At the time, the amount of money it would take to accomplish this was overwhelming, so I kept working hard and I knew that I would come back to it someday.
During the pandemic, while walking on Santa Monica Blvd and seeing all of the “For Lease” signs, I felt that the time was now. Since then, I’ve built an incredible team, have seen 30+ locations, have put in dozens of LOIs and offers, and have actually gotten very close to locking in a brick and mortar a few times. While our team has been looking for the perfect space, we started having events for our community. As of today, we have over two and a half years of incredibly successful events under our belt as we approach West Hollywood Pride 2023!
What is Cherry Bomb's involvement in West Hollywood Pride this year?
This year is huge for a couple of reasons. First, I believe this is the first time our community will have a home base and safe space for all of West Hollywood Pride June 2-4 directly on Santa Monica Blvd along the pride parade path! The “Cherry Bomb Garden” will be located right outside of Beaches Weho (8929 Santa Monica Blvd), and in front of Koontz Hardware, right by the OUTLOUD Festival entrance on San Vicente. We will have a stage for live music, drag king and Cherry Bomb Bae performances, two bars, two podiums, special guests, a drag king brunch, and more. We’ll also have a float in Sunday’s parade for the very first time! We are so excited and so grateful for our partners, Beaches Weho, who have teamed up with us to make all of this possible!
How important is it to support queer-owned businesses, especially in today's climate?
It is so incredibly important to support queer-owned businesses, brands, etc. all the time, especially in today’s climate, because there are currently over 490 anti-LGBTQ bills that the ACLU is tracking in the US. These are record-setting numbers, and many of these bills are targeting our trans community and the healthcare and life-saving care they receive (or don’t receive). The literal lives of our community members are at stake. Money is just one way to support our community, but it is important. Money is needed to create safe events, spaces, and brick and mortars. It is needed to support and elect politicians and lawmakers that will represent our community. It is often needed to help create and facilitate change. I would like to add that it’s also super important to make sure that the brands / businesses you support are actual allies and honest members of our community, and not just huge corporations throwing up rainbows to make a profit, while donating and/or supporting anti-gay politicians and legislations.
Tell us about your favorite Humankind pieces, and how they make you feel?
I love my Human Kind pieces! I wore them on my recent trip to Asia- from swimming in the ocean, hiking up a mountain, to through the jungle and into waterfalls! I love feeling comfortable, supported, and looking good and feeling like myself. I’m not super femme, and the Swim Top keeps me from worrying that I’m going to have a bathing suit malfunction. The stretchy Swim Trunks are my absolute favorite, because they are so comfortable, stretchy, fast drying, and I love feeling comfortable in a bathing suit. I absolutely love the Rainbow Stripe trunks! Those are my current favorites!
Shop Alison's favorites, and our Pride Collection.
Get tickets to Cherrybomb Weho Pride Here.