What traveling experience sticks out most in your mind?
In in the mid-90s, I went on a tour of Europe with Russell Simmons and Method Man. We went to Zurich, Paris, Amsterdam, and London. I had never been to the other three countries. We hit four cities in six or seven days. We just rock–and-rolled, hardly ever slept and stayed out all night. We ate everywhere. Since then I’ve been to each country many times. It is wonderful to know you can go to certain cities in the world, hop off the plane, and know you’re good.
Have you ever found black culture in a place where you didn’t expect to find it?
I expect to find black culture everywhere. A lot of black culture is appreciated by [people from all over the world.] There is no aspect of black musical culture that is not appreciated somewhere in the world. You will see musicians from Italy and Spain playing jazz. I went to Prague in 1999, and I remember walking down the street and seeing advertisements in Czech for a hip-hop party. Everywhere I’ve looked [I’ve seen] our music, our dance, our visual arts, and to some degree our food, depending on what country you visit.
How are black travelers different from other cultures?
I can’t speak for all black people, but what we have found is that black audiences want to have the experiences that anybody else will have. They want to visit the Eifel Tower, go by the Vatican. They want to see the landmarks. At the same time, they also want to know if there are any black people there. They are really curious about neighborhoods, restaurants, and historical sites that have particular historical significance to their experience.
How can BlackAtlas be useful to African American travelers?
BlackAtlas creates a forum where information about black culture in these cities exists. You are going to have peer-to-peer information, social networking, and the resources of American Airlines. You can literally look at places and then book a reservation or plan a trip. There are other travel Websites but I am hoping that this one will provide unique content that places an emphasis on people. People give insight about how it is to be black in these different cities. Hopefully users who live in those cities or travel to those cities will share their stories, pictures, and video, so that it becomes a real database of experience and information with lots and lots of different levels.
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