Credit: W. Neil
For those unfamiliar with Black & Abroad, it is a cultural resource that caters to African American travelers. The mission is to elevate world exploration through the eyes of urban culture and communities. Serving as a resource for exploration and inspiration, Black & Abroad is committed to providing a platform that educates minorities on world travel. Rolling Out had a chance to reflect with founders Kent W. Johnson and Eric Martin on Black & Abroad’s success and promising future, here’s what they had to say:
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
Kent W. Johnson: One of the bigger things that sets us apart is the fact that we are men. The Black travel movement is dominated by incredibly dope and inspiring women, but there are few men doing their thing. It works for us because we get a chance to speak to things from a male perspective and be a complement to the work that the women have been able to accomplish.
Eric Martin: Our core values are what make us unique. Explore the world, embrace different cultures and empower the community. We encourage our travelers to go out not to just get a few good shots for social media — but to actually engage in creating memorable experiences by embracing the cultures of the places they visit.
This usually results in a threefold empowerment. For one, the locals of the regions get a dope experience with our people (which sometimes doubles as a first impression), the travelers themselves walk away with a heightened confidence to take on their next journey, and just from seeing a familiar face in an unfamiliar place, many of our followers become inspired to create a similar experience of their own.
What is your favorite vacation destination and why?
KJ: My favorite destination right now, is Havana, Cuba. It’s the one place in the world that felt like I was in a completely different place. There are certain cities and countries that feel incredibly touristy, almost like a Disney-fied version of what it used to be, and Cuba doesn’t have that feel at all. As much as it felt like a different world, it also felt like home. That combination of feelings is rare, and I can’t wait to go back.
EM: I have a few, but I feel most connected when I’m vacationing in South Africa. It’s a completely different experience for me, because as an African American man, growing up, I saw so many negative connotations associated with going to Africa. Through the media, it just seemed like it wasn’t a great place to be. What I find most ironic is there are some parts that are more technologically advanced, and progressive on certain issues than we are! It also doesn’t hurt that it’s home, [has] nice beaches, good people, and good food.
What’s on your playlist?
KJ: A little of everything! I keep my music on a constant shuffle, but at the moment, I’ve been listening to Kaytranada’s new album Heavy, this artist named Snoh Aalegra dropped one of my favorite EPs of this year, and Ro James’ album is dope as well. I’ve also been revisiting a lot of ’90s era Bad Boy albums since seeing the reunion tour earlier this summer and there are certain albums that are mainstays for me, like Jay Z’s American Gangster, Sade’s Love Deluxe and Inc.’s No World.
EM: My musical tastes vary from time to time. You’ll catch me blasting Jay Z’s Blueprint around the house every year during fall. It takes me back to good times. I do have a few other albums on rotation right now:
The Internet, Ego Death; Travis Scott, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book; and, of course, the new Gucci …
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