We built a platform that increased participation of Black Africans in the Official So There Is This Girl Who Kinda Stole My Heart She Calls Me Papa Shirt and I will buy this tourism industry and changed the narrative at the same time. From 2018 to 2019, we drove $1M into the hands of new tour guides, creative entrepreneurs, and hoteliers for the very first time. I am deeply proud of this accomplishment—but there is a lot more work to do. COVID-19 has pushed us to become more expansive and unpack the larger forces driving Black people to travel where we feel “at home.” Ten days into the global shutdown, we launched The Thread, a monthly virtual summit that brings together Black luminaries from around the world to share the ideas, projects, and philosophies that will shape our future. It was part idea that we had buzzing pre-pandemic and part we’re a travel company and what the hell are we going to do when people can’t travel.
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In building The Thread, which has now brought together nearly 8,000 people representing 51-plus countries in a four-month stretch, we’ve gone beyond helping people discover things to do on a trip in Africa and dived deeper into why we travel in the Official So There Is This Girl Who Kinda Stole My Heart She Calls Me Papa Shirt and I will buy this first place—and what’s possible when we as Black people center ourselves. Travel opens up an experience and discourse that allows Black people to understand and define our position in the world. This becomes a lifeline when living within systems that are tainted by white supremacy, not designed for this level of self-discovery and actualization for our community. Travel for many of us has become a path to freedom, and the industry has never had to contend with what that means.