History Makers: BLK RVA combines tourism with Richmond’s black legacy

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'Black culture is where it's at'

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — BLK RVA is being honored as one of The Valentine’s 2020 ‘Richmond History Makers’ in the ‘Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions’ category. This new initiative collaborates with Richmond Region Tourism to combine tourism with Richmond’s black culture.

Led by an ‘action team’ of individuals who dedicate their time to bringing attention to black-owned businesses and culture, BLK RVA elevates African-American tourism by illustrating the city’s arts and entertainment, food and drink scene, community and history.

With businesses like Croaker’s Spot, Mama J’s, Urban Hang Suite, and Elegba Folklore Society, BLK RVA highlights the numerous spots that people in the city or those visiting can experience.

The group behind BLK RVA hopes to achieve more than just bigger tourism — they hope to help people grasp more than what they’re taught about the city’s history.

“There needs to be a new story told about black people in America. I think the story that we often frame black lives within especially in Richmond,” Josh Epperson of BLK RVA said. “Core to the origin of enslaved African people in America, we need to start telling the story of how brilliant we are and have become. It is not only our past, its what we want visitors to know as well. This isn’t the Richmond of old. This is the capital of a new black identity. I think celebrating all these businesses is really gonna bring that to life.”

Enjoli Moon says that this initiative is also to help speak for those who couldn’t.

“Having to create a BLK RVA — part of that is there was a black narrative being left out of this new Richmond that was being developed,” Moon said.

Free Egunfemi Bangura added that BLK RVA is a movement, one that takes a group effort.

“Black power. It’s black power,” Bangura said. “It’s collective work and responsibility, it’s cooperative economics.”



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