Who wouldn’t want to travel with— or like — Laz Alonso? That’s why the actor, think “Jumping the Broom” and “Avatar”, was a natural pick as the new travel ambassador for BlackAtlas.com, a social networking travel website powered by American Airlines for African-Americans. Alonso, 38, believes his partnership with the site offers a unique perspective because of its hands on approach. As an ambassador, he isn’t simply telling you about a place, he’s sharing an experience. “I’m walking around, eating the food,” he tells EBONY.com. “Some places are high end others are more affordable, we try to run the gamut.” But Alonso says what’s most important is that the site is universal. “Despite your budget, or socio-economic background, you can see the world.”
The DC-bred star also shares, “My hope is that through the travel site people see something they may be willing to save up for.” Alonso reveals that his childhood travel experience was limited to most places in driving distance. However, due to the present day global scoop of business, and even personal interactions, staying local is much more limiting. But BlackAtlas.com is hoping to open doors… the airplane doors that is.
The site is comprised of 75 percent user input, according to the company’s executives. That means that members of the network share where they have been, and want to go. They also rate experiences, give details about stores, venues and more. Plus, the organization plans to post incentives, such as discounted fares, ticket specials, etc… and giveaways frequently. As an added perk, Alonso will be featured regularly on the site giving firsthand tours of great locales stateside and abroad, and he will host special events to galvanize participation. The BlackAtlas.com and American Airlines brand are hopeful that their all points of engagement approach will foster participation to maintain the site’s success.
“There are so many things to learn from the traveling, especially about things that are historically relevant to the Diaspora,” Alonso offers. “As Africans Americans we often think about the tragic stories associated with our lineage, but there are a lot of triumphs. Traveling helps you learn about other aspects of our history, like the story of Christ the Redeemer. It’s empowering and inspiring.”
While BlackAtlas.com has definitely cultivated Alonso’s inner travel buff, don’t expect him to quit his day job. “In September, I start production on a new NBC series, “Infamous”, with Meagan Good,” he says. “I play her romantic interest. It airs in January.”
Luckily, until the series begins shooting he can spend all of his time in the air. Now isn’t that fly?