“Finding a Black-owned Airbnb can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack,” Jessica E. Boyd and Steven M. Hughes, the digital nomads behind Journey Black Home, told Apartmenttherapy. This ugly experience of not easily finding a Black-owned Airbnb led the couple to curate a comprehensive list of Black-owned Airbnbs so as to provide information on safe resources for fellow Black travelers.
So far, they have compiled over 200 Black-owned lodging places on Airbnb in the United States, with a profile showing the host’s name and face, an average guest rating of at least 4.0, positive reviews from guests, and the response of the host to positive or negative feedback, according to Apartmenttherapy.
Jessica and Hughes gained media attention when they sold nearly 90% of their belongings in their hometown of Columbia, S.C. in order to explore the U.S. in search of a new home. Their travels resulted in the creation of Journey Black Home, the largest list of Black-owned Airbnbs. Journey Black Home is also a blog supporting Black-owned businesses.
“For several years, we’d been making loose plans to move from our hometown of Columbia, S.C., to a bigger metro area. We eventually settled on a few new cities to consider but ended up putting the thought of moving on pause when the pandemic hit full force in 2020,” Boyd told Because Of Them We Can.
“After locking down for over a year, in July 2021, we revisited the idea of finding a new home. Rather than just pick a place and go, though, we decided to sell nearly 90% of our belongings to travel Black America and live nomadically on Airbnb.”
The couple started their journey staying in Black-owned Airbnbs because of discrimination. Airbnb has faced repeated accusations of bias and racism for years as Black people say some hosts use racial slurs on them while others do not even allow them to book because of the color of their skin.
To help make traveling more welcome for Black people, Boyd and Hughes also highlight some of the Black Airbnb locations on their Instagram handle.
“We’ve kept in touch with many of the Black hosts we’ve stayed with over the last seven months. We launched a separate Instagram account, @blackairbnbs, to amplify the Black-owned Airbnb listings from our blog and also share tips from the guest perspective to help [Black] hosts attract more bookings on the app,” Hughes said in a press release.