Fly Favorites: January 2012 + The Fly Brother Whirlwind Winter Tour 2K12

It's in Africa, folks.

Being deported from Eritrea has never been as compelling as when it happens to Chris Guillebeau.

Nicole is the New Black brings a little hot chocolate to Reykjavik.

Take the 001 Country Per Year challenge at hip travel emporium Flight 001′s blog.

Learn how travelers are ‘Living [MLK's] Dream’ at Scene With A Heart.

wejetset uncovers “the quiet beauty of mega-cities” with its profile of photographer Nikolaus Gruenwald’s Fragments of Urban Living.

Bessie Coleman, first black woman pilot in the USA

I’m Black and I Travel honors United Airlines’ first black chief pilot on the birthday of pioneering aviatrix Bessie Coleman.

The New York Times takes a tour through London’s gentrifying, pre-Olympics East End.

My road dog Oneika the Traveller lookin’ crazy at the Eiffel Tower.

World Hum pays its respects to a few notable wayfarers who passed away in 2011.

Shadow and Act previews Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 before its showing at next month’s Berlinale film festival.

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The dates for the Fly Brother Whirlwind Winter Tour 2K12 are set:

ATLANTA → Feb 8-9
BOSTON
→ Feb 10-12
NEW YORK
→ Feb 12-15
WASHINGTON
→ Feb 19-21

Anybody down for a Fly Brother Meet-up? Hang-out? Get-down? Boogie?

 

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlyBrother, and “like” me on Facebook! You can subscribe, too! ;-)

War and Travel, Unlikely Allies

Tuskegee Airmen Col. Benjamin Davis Jr. and Edward Gleed, 1945 (Source: US Library of Congress)

Black Americans have actively participated in every war and military skirmish since the United States was first conceived, even as a colony. But it was during the Spanish-American War in 1898 that black soldiers first had the opportunity to leave their own reluctant country for another – in this case, Cuba.

Until that time, scant few black Americans who didn’t have international family ties, work for someone who traveled abroad, or have the independent means to do so themselves, actually left the United States. The military – while segregated and just as unwelcoming as society at large – afforded young black men (and later women) the opportunity to visit other places, interact with other societies, and even become more cognizant of their worth as citizens. True, militaristic forays into foreign lands could hardly be considered pleasure cruises, but it was a chance to go, to see, to explore.

Estimates suggest over 350,000 black Americans served in Belgium and France during World War I, and films such as The Tuskegee Airmen, Miracle at St. Anna, and Red Tails (SEE IT NOW!) depict African-American experiences abroad during World War II. For the first time, black American men and women were getting to see the world in large numbers – at least on leave – thanks to Uncle Sam, and lots of folk stayed abroad, a prospect that seemed a helluva lot more appealing for some than heading “home” to Dixie.

Even today, the armed forces provides an opportunity for thousands of young people to experience the world (just ask Fidel), and despite my personal feelings about war and military intervention, I recognize the military’s importance in broadening the horizons of many fly brothers and sisters who came before me.

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlyBrother, and “like” me on Facebook! You can subscribe, too! ;-)

Greetings from (Warm, Sunny) Florida

Forecast high in Jville today: 77 degrees.

While I’m home with the family recharging the ol’ batteries with barbecue and sweet tea, Fly-Brother.com will be undergoing some minor site upgrades. Subscribers might see a few old posts pop up in their feeds over the weekend, but don’t be alarmed. It’s just me reformatting some of the old stuff. And before anyone gets jealous of these wonderfully mild winter temperatures and glorious sunshine we’re experiencing in my home state of Florida, just remember that this is also the home state of Casey Anthony, hanging chads, and that nutcase Koran-burning preacher. See how things always balance out?

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlyBrother, and “like” me on Facebook! You can subscribe, too! ;-)

New Years Eve in Rio … and Around the World

Getting blessed in 2012

It’s 2012, folk! While many of you spent New Years Eve in the frigid climes of Europe or North America, I was getting my hot-and-sweaty on in Rio de Janeiro. ;-) True, it rained most of the weekend, and the transport situation from my centrally-located apartment to the beach was less than ideal – a 5km walk uphill (and down, both ways) – but I made it to Copacabana in time for the countdown, the fireworks action, and even a little oceanfront afterparty with friends from São Paulo. Here’s a little taste:

At the same time, two very fly sistas – Nicole is the New Black and Oneika the Traveller – rang in the New Year with friends and family in Europe: Nicole in bright-and-sparkly Copenhagen and Oneika in on-and-poppin’ Berlin. Take a look!


How’d you spend New Years Eve?

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(Samba) School’s in Session

Camila Silva, Queen of the Drumline

With just over a month left before Carnival, the samba schools are getting into the groove with twice-weekly practices in preparation for the main event – a 14-contestant competition of beads, beats, and booty-shaking to see whose themed samba presentation tops ‘em all.

Even if it’s not as well-attended, São Paulo’s got a two-day parade event as big and flashy as Rio’s, and since 2005, I’ve been Vai-Vai for life. But last year, Acadêmicos do Tucuruvi grabbed my attention with a brash, colorful, poignant paean to the migrant workers of Northeastern Brazil who come to the city by the thousands each year to escape drought and poverty. These Northeasterners are more often than not black and brown, with traditions derived more wholly from the African and indigenous elements of Brazilian culture than those of any other region in the country, and they’re subjected to discrimination and even physical violence from more than a few locals who ignorantly stake claims to the place as if their grandparents hadn’t come here to escape drought and poverty in Italy, Spain, or Portugal. I loved the lyrics and the melody of the samba, and was hyped that they snagged second place (after Vai-Vai, of course), though I wouldn’t have been disappointed in the least if they had won.

Last Friday, I stopped by the ole HQ in Tucuruvi to check out this year’s theme: “O Esplendor da África no Reino da Folia” (very loosely translated as “The Splendor of Africa in the Realm of Revelry”).

The lyrics start off:
Teu filho, Oh Mãe África, (Your son, Oh Mother Africa)
Faz festa pra te exaltar (Celebrates to exalt you)

and end:
Herdeiro eu sou, da batida do tambor! (Heir, I am, to the beat of the drum!)

Amen and amen.

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlyBrother, and “like” me on Facebook!