This Black Travel Group Is Spreading Body Positivity Through Nudity
By Sharelle Burt
As African-Americans, we hear nightmare stories about travel groups that are mistreated and aren’t allowed to be carefree at certain establishments. Well, one group decided they were going to change that dynamic and travel while bearing it all. Literally.
Eight friends combine their love of traveling and body positivity to create the Black Naturists Association (“BNA”), a travel company looking to change the game by shattering stigma around nudity and encouraging self love among black travelers. That’s right. The folks at BNA are nudists.
And they’re not the only ones wanting to feel free. Since starting this journey in 2016, nearly 3,000 naturists have joined their Facebook group inquiring about the various trips they take annually, already conquering Miami, Haiti, Mexico, and Curaçao. Membership fees cost $90 and that comes with some pretty cool perks. By joining BNA, you also become a member of the American Association for Nude Recreation, which gets you benefits and access to all their associated resorts. You also get 10% off of the non-member price of trips.
So why is BNA so important to the naturist community? In an interview with Essence Magazine, the group said it’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin, something that society tells us not to be.
“We felt it was important to start BNA so that people who looked like us had more representation in naturist spaces, and that the spaces we provide on trips and meet-ups were free from any sexual pressures or overt sexual undertones,” BNA said. “We realize that sex is healthy and natural, but we also want to make nudity normal without it being automatically associated with sex or sexuality.”
The group consists of both men and women coming from all backgrounds but BNA says some members are a little hesitant with the idea of wearing your birthday suit. Especially the women but they have some key tips for you that may help loosen you up some.
“You can start with going topless and then take more off as you become more comfortable. Bottom line is once you get naked you’ll see that everyone is enjoying the space they’re in and isn’t worried or judging how you look.”
What sounds like a beautiful, nonjudgemental experience can come with some backlash. We weren’t taught that nudity is okay. Afrosexology founders Dalychia Saah and Rafaella Fiallo say that while they understand the stigma surrounding nudity, it’s time to get rid of it.
“A lot of people think that this space is designed for white people and then there is the fear of being sexualized and that’s why lots of black people don’t want to incubate themselves in that community,” Fiallo says. “Even if we don’t think we fit into that community, we still need to be represented.”
Afrosexology, a traveling seminar that aims to educate on black pleasure, desire, and sexual liberation, thinks that a group like BNA is right on time with the challenge. “We don’t have to try to make these spaces work for us because now we have our own communities where we can feel comfortable.”
BNA is definitely expanding and testing the waters for the nudist community. The 21-year-old and older group is heading to Haiti this month on a sold-out trip.