Photo Credit: TN
Airbnb's Inaugural 'Black Travel List'
Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong. The “Airbnb Black Travel List” (The List) is an inaugural celebration of Black travel leaders that are raising awareness for travelers in their community and beyond, while breaking barriers. Honorees on The List are establishing trends and highlighting destinations for others, creating social impact through their work, and curating group travel for those who are fostering community.
“We are thrilled to announce the inaugural ‘Airbnb Black Travel List’ and recognize such a visionary group of Black travel leaders. These travel honorees are making travel more accessible for the Black community and inspiring people of color to travel around the world,” said Janaye Ingram, Airbnb’s Director of National Partnerships.
This year’s honorees are…
Karen is a mom, wife, and writer at The MOM Trotter where she reminds parents that travel doesn’t have to end after children while inspiring and encouraging families to travel the world. Karen and her 6-year-old Aiden, are also the founders of Black Kids Do Travel, which is an organization created to bring about diversity in travel and bridge the gap. On her blog, she writes about her mission to raise global citizens as well as tips on homeschooling, worldschooling, and budget travel.
Reggie Cummings is the Founder and President of Black Travel Movement, a community of more than a half-million friends and family members who share an interest in cultivating new relationships and having epic experiences through domestic and international travel. Reggie is an avid traveler, skier, and thrillseeker. He is a storyteller, travel blogger, and travel influencer. As a recognized filmmaker, Reggie is also the Executive Producer of a 2019 feature documentary project on the history and evolution of Black travel, created through his film company Fort Hill Films.
Rasheed Dennis of Up in the Air Life, Inc. (UITAL) is currently the Director of Lifestyle on the Executive Team. As Lifestyle Director Rasheed leads Trip curation for UITAL Trips and provides a thought leadership and voice to the UITAL community & beyond. Rasheed is an avid traveler & expatriate with dual residency in the United States & Mexico whose passion for travel has taken him to over 89 countries and some of the most exotic destinations, events & festivals around the world. As a global citizen he prides himself on connecting with and meeting new people to experience & showcase the best music, nightlife, art, sport, local cuisine, and sight-seeing that a new destination has to offer. His extensive travel expertise, local connections in countries we travel to and business acumen are a key component of the success of UITAL.
Deesha Dyer is a speaker, writer, community leader and creative event & strategy professional, who served a seven-year tenure at the White House, where she served the Obama Administration in a variety of positions such as Associate Director for Scheduling Correspondence (2010), Hotel Program Director (2011), Deputy Director, Deputy Social Secretary (2013) and Social Secretary (2015). A Philadelphia native, Deesha serves as Executive Director of beGirl.world, a global empowerment and education travel program for teen girls she co-founded in 2014. She has been featured in national media outlets including TIME, The New York Times, Marie Claire, Essence, Vogue, Refinery29, Forbes, Glamour, The Root and Washington Post.
Kellee Edwards is a travel expert and television host by land, air and sea. She is a licensed pilot, advanced open water scuba diver, explorer and journalist. A pioneer in her approach to adventure travel made her brand Kellee Set Go! become recognized by some of the biggest brands in travel including that of the biggest TV network in this realm, The Travel Channel. Kellee is the host of Mysterious Islands, a series that explores some of the most remote islands of the 100,000 in the world, that viewers more likely have never heard of. Her love of travel and outdoor adventure has propelled her to explore more than 50 countries.
Nathan “Worldwide Nate” Fluellen
Nathan Fluellen is the creator, executive producer and host of World Wide Nate: African Adventures, a streaming reality travel show produced by 31 Dogwood Productions and TAC studios. Nathan’s interest in travel began in high school, when his mother would travel on missionary trips abroad. Since then, Nathan has visited 60 countries across six continents. Nathan is a brand ambassador for Breitling watches and his adventures have been sponsored by TheGrio.com, Chase Marriott, Time, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Ford & Lincoln Motors, Essence.com, Ebony.com, Mensfitness.com. He is a 3-time winner of LAWebfest’s – Most Outstanding Series and Series Host. An active philanthropist, Nathan has engaged in partnerships with Patagonia and South African Airways to donate wetsuits and surfboards to the Durban, South Africa-based nonprofit Surfers Not Street Children.
Nadia-Elysse Harris is the managing editor of Travel Noire, the premier travel resource for black travelers across the globe. The New York native is a law-educated journalist who has traveled to close to 50 countries. Nadia joined Travel Noire in July 2018 after spending two years as editorial manager at London-based travel startup Culture Trip and 3 years working as a managing editor at Newsweek Media Group. At Travel Noire, she is dedicated to creating content that makes black travelers feel seen, edified, and inspired.
Derrick “D-Nice” Jones
Derrick “D-Nice” Jones is a New York-born musician, best known for his work as a DJ, beatboxer, MC and producer. Boasting a multi-decade-long music career, Jones’ first gained notoriety at the age of 16 years old, when he became a founding member of the iconic 80’s rap group Boogie Down Productions. Jones travels non-stop across the world as a highly in-demand DJ and photographer. Strapped with a Leica camera, he began documenting his life and travels through the lens of his camera. Currently, a brand DJ for spirit company Hennessy, he also holds a DJ residency at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino and had the distinct honor of spinning at the request of former President Barack Obama, including during the 2012 Inaugural Ball.
Demetria L. Lucas is a DC-based award-winning author, journalist and media personality with an all-consuming obsession with modern relationships and a penchant for cultural commentary. You can find her musing on her favorite topics as a frequent contributor on Good Morning America and Nightline or listen to her latest thoughts on everything from pop culture, politics and travel on her new podcast, Ratchet & Respectable. Demetria is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Guide for Living Your Best Single Life” and “Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go to-Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.” As a journalist, her work has been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She was previously the Relationships Editor and columnist at Essence Magazine, and a Contributing Editor at The Root.com where her witty wordplay and knack for identifying hot topics ignited cultural conversations.
Munazza Muhammad is CEO of the Traveling Muslimahs, a travel group she developed exclusively for Muslim women, meeting their unique needs. Since its inception, the Traveling Muslimahs have travelled to numerous domestic destinations, as well as five countries and three continents. Munazza grew up in the Philadelphia Muslim community, and she founded the Traveling Muslimahs in hopes of providing Muslim women the opportunity to travel together, forming bonds of sisterhood and cater to the unique needs of Muslimahs while traveling, such as prayer time and halal meals. She is looking forward to the next travel destinations for the group including Thailand, South Africa and Italy. It’s only February and Munazza and her Traveling Muslimahs have been to Iceland…twice, and Miami, Florida. Next month Rome, Italy.
Jessica Nabongo is a writer, photographer, entrepreneur, public speaker and travel influencer. A first generation American, Jessica was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to Ugandan parents. She attended St. John’s University in New York, where she earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature. Following college, she started a career in pharmaceutical sales, moved to Japan to teach English, completed a graduate degree at the London School of Economics and worked for the United Nations in Rome, further fueling her wanderlust. Jessica soon shifted career paths to fuel her newfound sense of wanderlust, leading to the creation of her blog “Catch Me If You Can.” She is also the founder of Jet Black, a boutique luxury travel company that hosts group trips and curates itineraries to countries in Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
As a photographer, philanthropist and world traveler, Erick Prince is blazing a new trail in travel and business. Combining his love for photography and travel, he created MinorityNomad.com, one of the industry’s premier travel blogs geared toward African-American and Latino travelers. Currently on a quest to become the first African-American to visit every country in the world, Erick has so far visited 94 countries throughout the world. Through his blog and digital marketing company, Erick has worked with brands such as Facebook, Singha Corp, LAN Airlines, Lonely Planet, InterContinental Hotels and Sony.
Media personality, journalist, and keynote speaker Oneika Raymond is a Travel Channel host and on-air travel expert for NBC New York and CTV Canada. A bona fide travel junkie, her adventures have taken her to over 110 countries on 6 continents. As the author of the award-winning travel blog “Oneika the Traveller”, Oneika is dedicated to inspiring people of color to see the world. She is also the recipient of a Gold Medal in the 2018 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition for Best Travel Blog, as well as a 2019 Shorty Awards nominee. Oneika has worked as a spokesperson and ambassador for global brands such as Land Rover, American Express, Coca-Cola, and Loews. Additionally, she has been featured in outlets including the BBC, Forbes, The Associated Press, Oprah Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, and BuzzFeed.
Evita Robinson is the founder of NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, an online social community primarily for travelers of color which currently boasts over 20,000 international members, hosting nearly 100 meetups a year across the globe. Thanks to the success of the online group, Evita has garnered partnerships with Airbnb, Etihad Airlines, GoPro, Facebook Stories, Hyatt, Skift.com, various tourism boards and producer/actress Issa Rae, who co-produces The NOMADNESS Project web series on YouTube. Evita’s accolades include 2018’s AFAR Travel Vanguard Award and is noted as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs of 2018. She can also be seen between news panels and business features for CNN, Cheddar, MSNBC, truTV, NewsOne, and Oxygen Channel. Evita now serves as a keynote/seminar speaker, TED Resident and consultant for Destination Marketing Organizations.
Rockford, Illinois native Charlotte Simpson is the creator of the popular @travelingblackwidow Instagram and Facebook accounts, where she documents her extensive global travels. Following the death of her husband and fellow travel partner, Charlotte was inspired to continue pursuing her passion for traveling. To date, she has now visited over 80 countries across all seven continents. Since retiring from her career in education a few years ago, she now combines her love of travel with her ongoing volunteering endeavors.
Claire Soares is the mastermind behind the million-dollar flagship startup travel company, Up in the Air Life, founded in 2013. As a former sales executive at a Fortune 500 company, Claire is a savvy million-miler who has visited over 50 countries while mastering the art of travel hacking. Claire uses her love for luxury and exotic destinations to provide her clients with once in a lifetime experiences coupled with a full concierge service. Up in the Air Life hosts luxury group trips and leads an active online Facebook community with over 20K members who connect online. Up in the Air Life now serves over 1,000 clients with a strong following that boasts 25% of bookings from repeat clients.
Zim Ugochukwu is the founder of Travel Noire, an award-winning digital media company serving 3M millennials of the African Diaspora each month. As a teenager, she cloned a gene with similarities to a genetic disorder and became the youngest precinct judge for the state of North Carolina. Her love for solving tough problems and her knack for building communities on and offline has led her to critical acclaim. This Forbes 30 under 30 awardee has been featured in the New York Times, TIME, CBS This Morning, ELLE, The Nation, Essence, NPR, among others and was hand selected by Oprah for SuperSoul 100, a collection of inspired leaders using their voices and talents to elevate humanity.
Yarbrough created the award-winning cruise concept “Festival at Sea: Cruising With An African-American Twist” in 1992. Since it’s debut voyage with 250 passengers, the experience is now gearing up for its 28th trip later this year. Curated as a unique cultural experience for African-American travelers, the Festival at Sea concept activates full charters that offer elevated entertainment, lifestyle activities and worship services, among other activities. Due to the brand’s humanitarian efforts, Festival At Sea has donated over $400,000 to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund through annual raffles and auctions held on the yearly cruises. The concept also instituted a children’s book donation program, where passengers are asked to bring at least one new children’s book to be donated to schools, libraries or charitable organizations such as the Red Cross. Over the past 27 years, over 50,000 books have been donated to South Africa and almost every island in the Caribbean.
The “Airbnb Black Travel List” is an inaugural list released by Airbnb in an effort to recognize individuals who are making travel in the Black community more accessible. This year’s group of 18 honorees are elevating the Black travel experience and breaking barriers in the process.
Airbnb aims to build a place for magical travel powered by people. The platform’s community of hosts and guests are diverse and spans across nearly every region of the world. Airbnb is in 81,000 cities around the world and over 400 million guests have stayed in an Airbnb home. Airbnb salutes this inaugural group of individuals and thanks them for their contributions to making our world a more inclusive society.