Elevating the Community

Black & Abroad launches data-driven follow-up to its celebrated “Go Back To Africa” campaign

February 1, 2022


Just in time for Black History Month and two years after their provocative and acclaimed pan-Africa tourism campaign “Go Back To Africa,” the travel brand Black & Abroad and agency Performance Art have produced a fascinating and powerful data-driven domestic travel program entitled “The Black Elevation Map.”

“The Black Elevation Map” utilizes cultural data including Black population data, historical markers, Black-owned businesses and social media activity, and visualizes it as points of interest on a dynamic, searchable elevation map of the United States. The greater the density of data, the higher the elevation. The platform presents a topography born of Black endeavour as opposed to tectonic plates, and the results are striking.

“From redlining to modern urban planning, you don’t have to look far to see ways in which maps have been used to marginalize, divide and oppress communities around the world,” says Eric Martin, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder, Black & Abroad. “We wanted to help Black travellers see the country in a way that prioritizes and celebrates the contributions of folks who look like us—and facilitates travel choices that deepen engagement within our community. Repurposing a traditional elevation map is a way for us to weave joy and uplift into the story, the experience, and our interpretation of the data.”

The platform includes thousands of places of interest, as well as 12 curated city guides and 10 national guides that include Black-owned wineries (“Melanin Vines”), notable start-up companies (“Black Silicon Valley”) and restaurants that fuelled civil rights (“Civil Bites”).

“We’re inspired by the relentless positivity at the heart of the Black & Abroad brand, and wanted to once again explore what happens when you push a bold, brand idea into a sophisticated technology ecosystem,” says Ian Mackenzie, Chief Creative Officer, Performance Art. “We know the data we’re visualizing represents just a fraction of actual Black cultural contribution. We see this as part of an ongoing conversation, and a conceptual counterpoint to a long history of maps created with harmful and unacknowledged biases.”

The project includes a 60-second film called “A Hymn Away From Home”, directed by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall (whose “Black Bodies” was an official selection of TIFF 2020) and produced by the Black-owned production company Alfredo Films, and contributions from designer Tré Seals, whose “Martin” typeface was inspired by protest posters from the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. Seals also created an original set of icons for the project, inspired by a survey of African symbology.

“We have always seen an opportunity to elevate the community through world exploration,” says Kent Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder Black & Abroad. “The Black Elevation Map is a way for us to share the brand’s positive view from a domestic travel standpoint, while encouraging exploration across our diverse community. We’ll always have miles to go. We hope this map helps with the journey.”

About Black & Abroad
Black & Abroad is a multi-platform travel & lifestyle company. Since 2015, our digital campaigns, international events and travel experiences have redefined exploration for the modern Black traveler. We pride ourselves on working together to connect people all over the world through culturally conscious & thought driven initiatives centred around exploration while providing crowd-sourced information hubs for urban travellers. Seeing a need to elevate the community through world exploration, our company was created to expose the world to nuanced, diverse narratives within the travel community. https://www.blackandabroad.com/
About Performance Art
Performance Art is a full-service agency network that brings together deep data, technology and customer-centric strategy with highly awarded leadership and creative talent. With a specialist approach focused on the individual, the agency leverages technology consulting and implementation, creative-data and CRM, systems design and customer experience strategy to help brands make the highest performing work, in the most creative way. Performance Art is an independent network in the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram (@Performance.art.agency). www.performanceart.com

Title: The Black Elevation Map
url: BlackElevationMap.com

Client: Black & Abroad
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder: Eric Martin
Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder: Kent Johnson
Agency: Performance Art
Chief Creative Officer: Ian Mackenzie
Associate Creative Director: Pedro Izzo, Benson Ngo
Copywriter: Hemal Dhanjee, Tobi Adebowale, Paula Purdon
Copywriter: Jasmine Mans
Experience Delivery Lead: Nzegwhua Anderson
Senior Experience Designer: Joe Szabo
Experience Designer: Leon Mullings
Studio Designer: Emily Plewes
Executive Creative Director: Colin Craig
VP Strategy: Kirk Linkletter
Strategist: Leandra Legendre
Strategist: Simran Kaur
Strategist: Eli Ferrara
Strategist: Cassandra Cervi
SVP, Head of Strategy: Priyanka Goswami
Program Manager: Kaylen Dillon
Digital producer: Darwin Garcia
SVP, Managing Director: Jordan Dinning
Account Supervisor: Ricky Gunawan
Account Director: Jon Rae
VP: Technology: Stuart Cheesmond
Technical Solutions Consultant: Suraj Patel
Group Director, Product Development: Arnaud Icard
Lead Developer: John Iacoviello
Full stack developer: Cody Schreiber
Interface developer: Heung Lee
Senior Technical Architect: Valerian Nasqidashvili
Quality Assurance Lead: Natalia Zadorozhna
Quality Assurance Analyst: Nataliya Vislyanska
Solutions Consultants (BAs): Suraj Patel, Kaivalya Kashyap
Analytics Manager: Anil Iqbal
Junior Analyst: Shaista Meghji
Analytics Analyst: Abdul Dau
Consultant: Gigi Basanta
Chief Executive Officer: Andrea Cook
Chief Operations Officer: Elizabeth Sellors
Type: Vocal Type Co.
Designer: Tré Seals
Production: Alfredo Films
Director: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
DOP: Shivam Pandya
Producer: Alex Henry
Producer: Holly Rowden
Editor: Michael Ofori-Attah
Online: Alter Ego
VFX Executive Producer: Hilda Pereira
VFX Producer: Andrew Tavares
Motion Designer: Rob Fisher
Motion Designer: Ian Flaig
Colourist: Conor Fisher
Colour assistant: Daniel Saavedra
VFX Artist: Joel Osis
VFX Assistant: Victoria Gaston
Audio: TA2 Sound + Music
Audio Director: Simon Jain
Project Manager: Heather Ngo
Audio Engineer: Dean Metherell
Assistant Audio Engineer: Justin Poon
Creative Director: Steve Gadsden
Media: Initiative Canada
Chief Strategy Officer: Nish Shah
Director, Communications Design: Lara Senbanjo
Director, Strategy: Christian Kern
Performance Marketing: Reprise Canada
Head of Content: Cynthia Steele
Sr. Director, Strategy & Social Commerce: Tyler Dmytrow
Audience: Kinesso
SVP, Global Client Solutions: Wendi Dunlap
Director, Audience Solutions: Mandy Wong
Manager, Audience Solutions: Rory Materson
Agency Partner: Meta
Creative Agency Partner: Kayla Osmond
Creative Agency Partner: Katie Wall
Creative Director: Scott Drey
Creative: Michael Dooley
PR: Glossy
PR: Shannon Stephaniuk