Representation is power.
The production of traditional mass media in the United States was, and still is, controlled by a select few wealthy [white] men with economic pull. Luckily, as a direct result of the internet, the presence of bloggers and global nomads in the digital space is growing exponentially; this also means that those who are historically underrepresented have control over their representation more so than before.
In the age of heightened awareness and pride in Blackness, content creators are entertaining and inspiring audiences to become more globally connected and “woke.” Here are a few content creators (in no particular order) who discuss the resilience of traveling while Black.
Briona Lamback (22) // @bri.youmetravel
A passion for writing and storytelling inspired Briona to become a content creator. She is a traveler and a poet who fell in love with travel during her study abroad experience in London. In addition to blogging, she is the creator of You Me Travel & Co, a custom travel planning company with opt-in safety tips for people of color.
“Black travel is important because like most spaces, we are ignored in travel. Things are just now starting to be more representative, but that’s because we started creating content. I have friends and family who do not think black people are supposed to travel, and that traveling is reserved for white people. We [content creators] are changing the narrative because it’s simply not true. I’m just happy to be a part of that!”
Ciara Johnson (24) // @hey_ciara
Ciara Johnson is a Houston-based blogger who quit her job to travel solo. Besides being a stunning photographer, she became a content creator to creatively share travel information and inspiration to those who want to share similar experiences. Her vibrant pastel website offers insightful travel stories and honest tips. Ciara always keeps it real with her travel experiences.
“This is deeper than doing it for the ‘Gram or #travelgoals. Decades ago, this black travel movement wouldn't have been possible. We have the privilege to see the world in ways that our ancestors never could. We are still massively underrepresented and misrepresented in media around the world, even in the travel space. By simply choosing to show up in and around the globe, we prove that we too can trek for 4 days through the Andes mountains, sail along the Caribbean coast, and ride tuk-tuks through the crowded streets of Delhi. Our bodies need to be seen, our voices need to be heard, and our stories need to be told. When black people travel, we prove that the world is our oyster too.”
TaNesha Barnes (40) //@tbarnesbeauty
TaNesha Barnes (T. Barnes) is an educator, a social activist, a business woman, an avid traveler, and much more. She has been doing the “work” for over 20 years. In addition to owning a cosmetics line and an international clothing line, she deeply invests her energy into travel education for Black and Brown folk. She runs an international summer camp in Anguilla each summer and multiple travel retreats for Black women each year; she brings the luxury and the education of the digital space into the physical space for us.
“It is past time to recognize that borders between countries are simply a social construction. As humanity moves forward it will be more and more important to recognize ourselves as global citizens, without boundaries, physically or mentally. Those that are #GLOBAL will move through the world as a bridge, to new experiences, to creating new ways of living together and recovering old ones. The T. Barnes “A Lifestyle of Beauty Retreats" was birth to share the international travel experience with the T Barnes Beauty Community. The yearly trips were created to deliver new and unique ways of vacationing for busy people looking to reconnect with self, travel with interesting people and have amazing experiences and adventures. Each trip focuses on the beauty of the experience, “roads less traveled”, cultural encounters and spiritual exploration.”
Raphaella Brice (20) // @rvphchang
Raphaella is currently studying abroad in Leuven, Belgium. She began blogging to provide a platform for people to be their truest selves. Her blog and Instagram feed offer information on personal health, travel, and hair.
“Scam when you can. Black travel is so important because it opens doors and inspires black people to travel more, expand their horizons, and also have the opportunity to travel. We should all be given the chance.”
Kay Kingsman (25) // @theawkwardtraveller
Kay is a burst of fresh energy with her fun approach to traveling. She a is a self-proclaimed “goofball” who began blogging for herself but welcomes anyone who wants to engage with her content – she is actually flattered. Besides blogging, she is a writer. She is currently working on publishing a novel; check out an excerpt here.
“To me, content creator sounds so professional, so serious. I’m literally just a goofball who goes places and occasionally remembers to take pictures. There’s a surprising amount of ‘politics’ in the travel blogger community – how to get followers, and standing out in the crowd but blending in to fit the mainstream. My paycheck doesn’t depend on how many followers I can influence. So, at least for me personally, I try not to take it so seriously. However, I do hope that those who read my blog get something out of it. Travel is the best way to familiarize yourself with different cultures and understand the world just a little better. If the travel community is about exploring new places, then it needs bloggers who reflect that as well: black, Asian, latino, and every shade of brown – especially those without passport privilege. However, if you come from a background where travel seems inaccessible, unattainable, and wasteful luxury, then scrolling through feeds of pretty, petite, young white women (no offense to y’all) is not encouraging for a lot of people who do not fit that description.”
Quiana Wesley (28) //@compass_q
California-native Quiana is planning to take over the world, and be fabulous while doing so. Her travels span throughout the U.S., Australia, various parts of Asia, and more. After living in Australia for a year, she wrote an insightful article on being Black in Sydney for Melanin Travel.
“I became a content creator and Instagram presence because travel is crucial to understand the world around you… especially in regard to the black community. We tend to only go to our out-of-state family’s house or Vegas as a real holiday. You have to immerse yourself in other cultures, ideologies, and customs to truly understand. Travel has to be more of a priority and it can be affordable.”
Kendall Nichole Green (23) // @_kendallgreen
Kendall Green is a registered nurse, a traveler, and a blogger. She runs an intriguing and fun website where she discusses art, beauty, style, food, nursing – a bit of everything for every type of person. She strives to remain genuine with her experiences and words in a digital realm where social media is “becoming increasingly more curated.”
“The black community has historically been told what they cannot do, so the importance of black travel lies in the sheer freedom to do what others thought, for them, was impossible. Black men and women are strong, independent, and resilient individuals who, throughout time, have defied naysayers and gone beyond even their own capabilities. Black travel changes the way we relate to the world and to others. It also humbles us and equally empowers us to take on new challenges that we face today.”
Khara Connor (34) // @thebrunchbelle
Based in Washington DC, Brunch Belle highlights the city’s vibrant brunch scene and serves as a resource for dining in DC. However, Brunch Belle is more than just a food blog; it’s a lifestyle blog that intersects my love for food with my passion for fashion and travel. (description via Brunch Belle)
“My Instagram feed is a fun supplement to my blog: a bright and cheerful display of my passion for food, fashion and travel through my rainbow colored lens with the goal of inspiring others to live boldly and colorfully. As you many notice from my IG, travel is an essential theme of Brunch Belle. I have been intentional about travelling for the past 15 years. The exposure to other cultures and ways of life that we get through travel is invaluable. It teaches us lessons in tolerance, respect, and sensitivity for individual differences that we wouldn’t get from being confined to our own tiny spheres of life. I love that black millennials are increasingly becoming avid travelers and rewriting the narrative on black travel. It’s important for the world to see us in unstereotypical ways.”
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