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  • Eric Martin (L) and Kent Johnson (R), founders of the travel company Black and Abroad and the masterminds commandeering the hashtag #GoBackToAfrica.

    Eric Martin (L) and Kent Johnson (R), founders of the travel company Black and Abroad and the masterminds commandeering the hashtag #GoBackToAfrica. | Photo: Black and Abroad

Published 17 July 2019

The duo behind the idea said it’s time to “flip the phrase on its head and highlight the beauty of the continent.”

Black minorities in the U.S. have been harassed for centuries with their neighbors and even their president telling them to “go back to Africa.” Inspired to put an end to racism, an African American pair have launched a campaign to turn the negative connotations of the continent into positive ones.

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"This comment is not new for black people. People use it as a way to get their racism across, you look for coded language to get your point across. It implies that black people are lesser than,” Eric Martin, 35, said in an interview with CNN.

The other member of the dynamic duo is Kent Johnson, 37,  both are travel consultants who made their name with their first and now award-winning program Black and Abroad, a travel company for black people by black people.

"We worked with a social listening company who checked various sites and found that the phrase had been used around 4,500 to 5,000 times a month, usually in a negative way," Johnson said, adding most were “baseless and ignorant” and used by “racist trolls and bigots.”

But Martin and Johnson say it’s time to “flip the phrase on its head and highlight the beauty of the continent.”

"We used Google Vision to track the hashtag in real-time. Whenever someone used that hashtag online, the images of black people on the continent are pulled on to our website," Martin explained.

The pair are also promoting the use of their new hashtag #GoBackToAfrica, encouraging followers visiting the region to do the same when sharing their photos and adventures.

By typing the phrase, social media users from around the world can witness Africa’s diverse landscapes and breathtaking views.

"We wanted to let them [those using the phrase] know, first of all, that Africa is a continent, not a country. There are 54 different countries, flavors, and cultures,” they said, emphasizing that "when you say go back to Africa, we say 'go back to heritage, go back to beauty,"

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