Urban by Nature panelists with The Root’s editor-in-chief, Danielle Belton
Image: Photos by Kara (Betsi Ewing Studio)

For the first time ever, The Root teamed up with Very Smart Brothas and The Glow Up for a panel event all about black folks and the great outdoors. We tapped OWN publicist James Ward III and marketing and advertising professional Crystal Marie McDaniels, as well as our own Maiysha Kai, Damon Young and Panama Jackson to talk about their outdoor experiences and dig into whether black folks are the outdoorsy types.

Guests were invited to come to a dope space in downtown Los Angeles to sip Champagne, wine, beer or water with us as they checked out Toyota’s latest Rav4—the most outdoorsy vehicle there is—and then we invited them all to sit down to a panel discussion all about black people and outdoor activities.

Panama served as the panel moderator, and he was nothing short of hilarious as he expertly navigated around Damon’s dry humor about memories of “smelling like outside,” went tit for tat with Maiysha over her claims of baptism in Lake Minnetonka, and created punch lines from thin air when talking with James and Crystal about the international travel that had them hugging elephants and hiking.

The panel became a conversation with the crowd as the Travel Channel’s host of Mysterious Islands, Kellee Edwards, stood up and started talking about the impact that travel has on our outdoor experiences. Maiysha and Panama brought up a point about our ancestors being made to live their lives outside, particularly outside the big house.

This historical restriction may have a lot to do with black people and the stereotype that says we don’t do outdoors. While some of that may hold true, it’s not 100 percent representative of all that black people are. From hiking to biking, camping to glamping, there are so many things black folks are willing to do outdoors.

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Check out the photos from the event so you can relive the night or pretend you were there! We wish you were! Make sure you’re following The Root on social media so that you are up-to-date with our event announcements and don’t miss us if we come to your city.