The reggae genre first was introduced to Japan in the early 1970s, and the scene has exploded, with dancehall music in particular becoming a serious subculture and way of life. (Photo: Oneika the Traveller)
I’ve said before that Tokyo is probably the weirdest and most intriguing place I’ve ever been: its freaky fetish culture, bizarre fashion, and penchant for animatronics sharply contrast its Zen Buddhist philosophies and respect for tradition and high culture. But what some guidebooks fail to highlight is the megacity’s deep appreciation for (and appropriation of?) hip-hop and dancehall reggae musical genres: Nightclubs playing this music dot the neon-lighted landscape. My friend and I hit up reggae club Garam in Shinjuku-ku, and were surprised to come across die-hard dancehall enthusiasts who both looked and sounded the part (Sean Paul, take note). One is just as likely to find B-boys as Harajuku girls in their wanders around town!
A visit to the African continent is a must for any African-American seeking to understand a bit more about their roots, and a visit to this East African nation in particular promises a sojourn chock-full of sun, sand, summits, and safari. From the peaks of Kilimanjaro, to the plains of the Serengeti, to the island paradise that is Zanzibar, Tanzania has long been on my list of places to visit, regardless of your color or creed.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Etihad Airlines error fare that sent a flurry through the black travel community last Christmas has seen a number of African-Americans suddenly add the United Arab Emirates to their bucket lists. Cheap plane tickets notwithstanding, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are spellbinding destinations well-suited for first-timers to the Middle East. As global cities that are more cosmopolitan and less strict than their Gulf neighbors, they offer a window into a culture dominated by opulence and luxury. Impressive superlative sights like the Burj Khalifa, extreme activities like dune bashing, and a rollicking nightlife make these emirates well worth a visit.
Do you agree with my choices? Peep the video of my appearance on TVOne and let me know!