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10 Black Men Who Are #TravelBae Goals

These kings show how royally we roll for international adventures.

Life & Travel

There's nothing like a good ol' chocolate, caramel, or vanilla-wafer brotha who is not only open to adventures in business, love, and the bedroom but who is always down for the extraordinary trip of a lifetime. And sis, we as a community are doing more and more traveling---especially to international locales---these days. According to research, black travelers contribute a whopping $63 billion to the tourism industry, and 17% of us take one or more trips outside of the U.S.

It's fun to enjoy a solo trip every now and again, but sometimes it's good to get a little companionship from a guy who knows how to let it all hang out and make new memories.

These 10 men are changing the game in the travel world---venturing off the beaten path and letting us in on how royally our kings roll around the world:

Jubril Agoro, Passport Heavy

Agoro, a Nigerian-American entrepreneur from Chi-town, offers premium content via his travel platform, Passport Heavy, which features vlogs from his experiences in places like Mexico City, London, Accra (Ghana), Lagos (Nigeria), and Medellin (Colombia). His videos always invoke feelings of yearning, possibility, and aspiration, and he's always super-motivational. He also gives so many details about how you can replicate the experiences. (Added bonus: His Website says he's "looking for romance", so ladies, go ahead and hit up thet DMs. Let's hope that by the time this is published, that's still true.)

Jonathan Global

This guy's Instagram is packed with black boy joy and photos that look like they came from a modeling portfolio. The consultant who proudly proclaims his Howard University alumni status, has shared experiences from Budapest to the Philippines to Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and relishes in more than his share of luxe. We can dig it.

Brian, Where In The World Is B

A self-proclaimed "travel engineer", Brian proves that we can all get past travel stereotypes (and throw away the phrase, "Black folks don't go there.") He's taken trips to Cambodia, Finland, and Haiti, and offers a glimpse into luxury experiences in places some of us might not have previously considered a must-see. He also candidly shares the highs---and lows---of TWB (aka traveling while black). Brian keeps it moving, around the world, surpassing 90 countries visited.

Rondel Holder, Soul Society

As founder of a travel community and content platform that has grown to more than 77,000 followers, Rondel proudly travels with his wifey---sorry, ladies---and advocates for black travelers going beyond the usual. He's had journeys from Africa to the Caribbean to Europe, and with more than 60 countries visited, gives us a view not only into the sweetness of black love but the euphoric feeling of getting one more passport stamp.

Stephen-Philip Ibar, SOAI

This Jamaican vlogger is known to take a baecation or two to explore nontraditional venues within the country of his birth. He also creates memorable experiences like "Catch & Cook" lobster and jungle treks in Mexico. Stephen-Philip reminds us all that though we might have a favorite go-to vacay spot, we must still be open-minded to going beyond the typical resorts and Airbnbs. I mean, our travel and love lives get stale otherwise.

Kevin Curry, Fit Men Cook

Curry is a chef who has made amazing strides with his platform that showcases healthy living. The creative entrepreneur also takes readers along on his travels, some of which include food adventures in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Morocco. As if his dishes aren't swoon-worthy enough, Curry shares his fitness and gym routines that might have you sneaking to the other room to binge watch. (Sorry, bae.)

Cedric Wood, Ced Tripping

A Southern-bred professional with a doctoral degree who plays the organand travels? Chile, go ahead and faint. The clinical pharmacist shares reviews and experiences from his trips via his Website and gives us a sneak peek of global adventures on his IG. Japan, Croatia, Kenya, and Switzerland are just a few spots he's landed on, and the list continues to grow. Can't vouch for his relationship status, but hey, don't let that keep you from fantasizing or even doing a bit of Web stalking---I mean, research---to find clues.

Rick Southers, Rick on the Run

OK single ladies, you might want to steer clear of knocking over that wine glass or coffee cup near your laptop while checking out his IG page. When this photographer is not traveling with his Omega Psi Phi bruhs to locales like Louisiana's French Quarter and the Louvre in Paris, he's luxuriating on Bali's Kelinking Beach or at Croatia's Palmizana. What better way to up your (Instagram) travel profile than having a bae who knows his way around the world and behind a camera lens?

Andrew Robotham

A photographer and engineer, Andrew travels with his wife, an entrepreneur in her own right, on global explorations. The two give us all the tripspiration feels via IG. You'll find ideas for plans with your current boo (I'm taking notes) or future hubby you've been prayed about---from honeymooning in Bali, to anniversary revelry in Kenya, to yacht lounging in Italy.

Marcus, Marcus Meets World

He touts himself as "The Jetsetter", and the name is quite fitting since he's been to more than 50 countries. You'll find photos and back-stories for some of his most inspiring trips, from playing soccer with local kids in the West African nation of Togo, to enjoying coffee outside Poland's infamous Crooked House. Throw in a beard, muscles and mention of Hebrews 11:6, and he might be the formula for a travel-bae match made in heaven. (But don't quote me on his marital status, as that is unknown based on his IG. Guess you'll have to shoot your shot and see.)

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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