I have a new byline in Travel + Leisure’s latest issue, Destination of the Year: Italy. This byline is extra special as I produced and styled a fashion shoot to go along with it! When Travel + Leisure’s editor-in-chief Jacqui Gifford told me that Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2021 was Italy, I was excited. Travel + Leisure decides the destination of the following year as early as the previous spring. Italy was still in the throws of the first round of the coronavirus. This was before Covid-19 ravaged the U.S. It is an honor to contribute and I wanted to tell a part of the Italian experience that is a blind spot from travel publications, tourism boards, bloggers etc. There are indeed Black people in Italy!
ITALY IS A MULTICULTURAL PLACE AND NOT ALL ITALIANS ARE WHITE!
Is the world not letting the perception of what Italy is today evolve or is Italy choosing to portray an archaic notion of its culture to the world for the sake of “heritage branding?” Chicken or the egg. Why can’t there be both. I couldn’t be apart of this erasure any longer. While this is just scratching the service, I am honored to introduce the Travel & Leisure audience to some amazing AfroItalians. They are Black people living in Italy, NOT TOURISTS, 3 out of 4 of them not expats, born there, with regional pride, dialect swag and making big moves in the creative space in the country. They have pride in Italy and are committing with pushing Italy forward on the world stage.
I wanted them to look just as regal and elegant as any other portraits. I love street style, but I wanted to align these Black people with Italian heritage and that magical architecture.
Here is a link to the piece online where it’s a little longer: https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/italian-black-creatives-new-wave
And this is just the beginning of what I hope to share with you about Black Italy.
* originally written Dec 2020