That should sum up what Kiratiana Freelon offers in her first travel guide in a series that will include London and other destinations around the world. When I began reading the guide, I wasn’t sure what to expect: A typical travel guide, but targeted towards black readers? Or a guide to black communities in Paris? Kiratiana tackles both. The book covers standard information about Parisian hotels, restaurants, and museums along with tips to aid the adventurous but inexperienced African American traveler. The main focus, however, is helping readers get a taste of “Black Paris,” the cultural contributions of peoples of black African descent.
This is where I feel that the guide is a bit weak. Too often “black” becomes African American, and the guide is reduced to a list of who slept or performed where. Although there are some wonderful sections on African and Caribbean history and food, I didn’t get a sense of what homebred black Parisian culture really is all about. In addition, it’s difficult to have faith in a few reviews about places she’s never been to. In her attempt to be thorough, Kiratiana becomes a secondary source that might not be all that reliable. Points for originality though. Kiratiana is a true entrepreneur, having the sense and wherewithal to meet the growing demand of black women for travel resources. I’m looking forward to using her guide to Paris and reading the others as they come out.