Joy of a Black Planet

Illustration by Erik Carter

Excerpt from this article:

In 2011, Zim Ugochukwu was traveling on the Jagriti Yatra, a 15-day train trip through India for aspiring entrepreneurs. Her time in India wound up sparking an idea for a start-up, though perhaps not in the way the trip’s organizers intended. Ugochukwu was struck by the fact that, out of a group of about 500, she was one of just three African-Americans. She thought about how mainstream travel publications, even those online, weren’t speaking to them or their experiences. ‘‘When I searched ‘black travel’ on Google, I saw a black suitcase,’’ she said. ‘‘That’s not what I meant.’’

In September 2013, Ugochukwu created Travel Noire, a resource for black globe-trotters, continuing in a long online tradition of pulling together otherwise diffuse groups of like-minded people: tattoo artists on Pinterest, gamers on Reddit, and so on. In keeping with the times, Travel Noire is more of a brand than a publication, taking on many incarnations: a website, a vivid Instagram account and private forums. ‘‘I wanted to create a place for people to dream about a destination and read about how another person did it,’’ Ugochukwu said.