Photo Credit: Courtesy of Visit Missouri| Facebook
Missouri Casts Black Woman In Tourism Ad Following NAACP's Travel Warning
A Black woman is now the face of Missouri’s latest tourism campaign nearly four years after the NAACP warned Black visitors to reconsider travel to the state because their civil rights may not be respected.
The woman, who goes by the name Mo on the ads, will act as a tour guide in the “Show-Me” State. She is featured in promotional videos hiking, watching baseball, riding a roller coaster, and more. She will also be seen in ads posing as Foodie Mo, Barbecue Mo, Lake Mo, and History Mo— the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported.
Ashley Santana, a St. Louis-based actress, model and soprano, plays Mo, the AP reports.
“Mo embodies Missouri and everything we have to offer visitors in our state,” Stephen Foutes, director of the Division of Tourism, said in a press release.
Even with Mo as Missouri’s latest “tourism spokesperson,” Missouri’s NAACP chapter has no plans on dismissing their travel advisory issued back in 2017 until the state shows “meaningful progress in the systemic abuses affecting people of color.”
“I don’t quite understand where they’re going with the campaign, and why put a Black face on it,” said Missouri NAACP Chapter president Nimrod Chapel. “Missouri is a place that has been marked by violence and Jim Crow. It’s good that they’re trying to think inclusively of people they should invite to the state, but it’s also unfortunate when the government hasn’t done anything to address those risks in a meaningful way.”