Photo Credit: Danielle Williams
Melanin Base Camp: The Group Adding Color To Outdoor Spaces
When Danielle Williams launched Melanin Base Camp in 2016, she was looking for something that wasn’t mainstream. She wanted an online space to connect with people that looked like her occupying outdoor spaces and the adventure sports arena.
Her thought process at the time was, “if it doesn’t exist, why not just create one?”
It’s a good thing she did because since launching, she was able to start a blog and create the #diversifyoutdoors hashtag in 2018 which has been used on Instagram more than 99,000 times.
“The space has just gotten larger and more inclusive,” she tells Travel Noire. “It’s been so positive to see so many people of color and other diverse communities represented on social media.”
Even with the progress, Williams admits there is still work to do. She wants Black people to feel more welcomed outdoors no matter their experience.
“For a lot of people who are new to the outdoors and trying to experience it in their own way, it can be really challenging because gear can be expensive, there’s a lot of gatekeeping in the community, especially by people who have ‘grown up’ in the outdoors through racial privilege or other types of privilege,” she adds. “A lot of the knowledge that’s passed down on how to just be in relation to nature can be intergenerational so, if you know things, that’s great but don’t shame people who don’t.”
Williams says she’s using her platforms to have honest conversations about not following the traditional model of what it means to be ‘outdoorsy.’
“Be outdoorsy on your own terms. You do not have to climb a mountain, You can go to your local park and grill. That’s also a tradition that a lot of us did growing up and yet, never counted it,” says Williams. “We don’t have to check the boxes that white people created to be successful outdoors. I think it’s so important to find ways to just exist in relation to nature without conquering terms that may not be applicable or of interest to you.”