Black and Abroad 'Elevation Map' highlights U.S. destinations rich with Black culture

Follow-up to award-winning 'Go Back to Africa' campaign leverages data to encourage domestic travel to

Published On
Feb 01, 2022

Editor's Pick

Travel and lifestyle brand Black and Abroad, whose "Go Back to Africa" campaign won multiple awards including a Cannes Grand Prix for Creative Data, has now created a new data-driven project with a map that visualizes Black culture across the U.S. in terms of elevation.

At a time when travel to Africa isn't so easy, the company is using data to highlight American destinations in terms of what they stand for in Black culture. The platform takes cultural data, including Black population statistics, historical markers, Black-owned businesses and social media activity, and visualizes it as points of interest on a dynamic, searchable elevation map of the United States. The greater the density of data, the higher the elevation.

The Black Elevation Map includes 12 curated city guides and 10 national guides, that include Black-owned wineries (“Melanin Vines”), notable start-up companies (“Black Silicon Valley”) and restaurants that fuelled civil rights (“Civil Bites”). Users will be able to create and email “favorites.” There is also an “add to map” feature, search via city, a freestyle explore map mode, a Black travel social media feed, and buttons that enable users to toggle between several powerful elevation-based data visualizations. The map also pulls in Black travel-related social media conversations from Twitter and Instagram based on hashtag use, categorized across three streams.

“From redlining to modern urban planning, you don’t have to look far to see ways in which maps have been used to marginalize, divide and oppress communities around the world,” said Eric Martin, chief creative officer and co-founder, Black & Abroad, in a statement.

“We wanted to help Black travelers see the country in a way that prioritizes and celebrates the contributions of folks who look like us— and facilitates travel choices that deepen engagement within our community. Repurposing a traditional elevation map is a way for us to weave joy and uplift into the story, the experience, and our interpretation of the data."

The project was created by creative data agency Performance Art, which has been newly formed as a new Interpublic Group Company housing the Toronto and New York teams from FCB/Six  that worked on "Go Back to Africa."



Black woman with bike standing in front of a street corner

“We’re inspired by the relentless positivity at the heart of the Black & Abroad brand, and wanted to once again explore what happens when you push a bold, brand idea into a sophisticated technology ecosystem,” said Ian Mackenzie, chief creative officer, Performance Art. “We know the data we’re visualizing represents just a fraction of actual Black cultural contribution. We see this as part of an ongoing conversation, and a conceptual counterpoint to a long history of maps created with harmful and unacknowledged biases.”

The Black Elevation Map is launching with a 60-second film, seen above, called “A Hymn Away From Home." It was directed by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall and produced by the Black-owned production company Alfredo Films. The film combines footage of more than 30 business owners from across America with iconic images of mountains, and original poetry commissioned and performed by Washington D.C.-based poet Jasmine Mans (“Black Girl, Call Home”).

Person standing in front of a street art piece


Couple standing in front of restaurant "Ben's Chili Bowl"


Feb 01, 2022
Client :
Black and Abroad
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder :
Eric Martin
Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder :
Kent Johnson
Agency :
Performance Art
Chief Creative Officer :
Ian Mackenzie
Associate Creative Director :
Pedro Izzo
Associate Creative Director :
Benson Ngo
Copywriter :
Hemal Dhanjee
Copywriter :
Tobi Adebowale
Copywriter :
Paula Purdon
Copywriter :
Jasmine Mans
Experience Delivery Lead :
Nzegwhua Anderson
Senior Experience Designer :
Joe Szabo
Experience Designer :
Leon Mullings
Studio Designer :
Emily Plewes
Executive Creative Director :
Colin Craig
VP Strategy :
Kirk Linkletter
Strategist :
Leandra Legendre
Strategist :
Simran Kaur
Strategist :
Eli Ferrara
Strategist :
Cassandra Cervi
SVP Head of Strategy :
Priyanka Goswami
Program Manager :
Kaylen Dillon
Digital Producer :
Darwin Garcia
SVP Managing Director :
Jordan Dinning
Account Supervisor :
Ricky Gunawan
Account Director :
Jon Rae
Chief Technology Officer :
Jacob Ciesielski
VP Technology :
Stuart Cheesmond
Technical Solutions Consultant :
Suraj Patel
Group Director Product Development :
Arnaud Icard
Lead Developer :
John Iacoviello
Full Stack Developer :
Cody Schreiber
Interface Developer :
Heung Lee
Senior Technical Architect :
Valerian Nasqidashvili
Quality Assurance Lead :
Natalia Zadorozhna
Quality Assurance Analyst :
Nataliya Vislyanska
Solutions Consultant :
Suraj Patel
Solutions Consultant :
Kaivalya Kashyap
Analytics Manager :
Anil Iqbal
Junior Analyst :
Shaista Meghji
Analytics Analyst :
Abdul Dau
Consultant :
Gigi Basanta
Chief Executive Officer :
Andrea Cook
Chief Operations Officer :
Elizabeth Sellors
Type :
Vocal Type Co
Designer :
Tré Seals
Production :
Alfredo Films
Director :
Kelly Fyffe- Marshall
Shivam Pandya
Producer :
Alex Henry
Producer :
Holly Rowden
Editor :
Michael Ofori-Attah
Online :
Alter Ego
VFX Executive Producer :
Hilda Pereira
VFX Producer :
Andrew Tavares
Motion Designer :
Rob Fisher
Motion Designer :
Ian Flaig
Colorist :
Conor Fisher
Color Assistant :
Daniel Saavedra
VFX Artist :
Joel Osis
VFX Assistant :
Victoria Gaston
Audio :
TA2 Sound + Music
Audio Director :
Simon Jain
Project Manager :
Heather Ngo
Audio Engineer :
Dean Metherell
Assistant Audio Engineer :
Justin Poon
Creative Director :
Steve Gadsden
Media :
Initiative Canada
Chief Strategy Officer :
Nish Shah
Director Communications Design :
Lara Senbanjo
Director Strategy :
Christian Kern
Performance Marketing :
Reprise Canada
Head of Content :
Cynthia Steele
Sr. Director Strategy & Social Commerce :
Tyler Dmytrow
Audience :
SVP Global Client Solutions :
Wendi Dunlap
Director Audience Solutions :
Mandy Wong
Manager Audience Solutions :
Rory Materson
Agency Partner :
Creative Agency Partner :
Kayla Osmond
Creative Agency Partner :
Katie Wall
Creative Director :
Scott Drey
Creative :
Michael Dooley
PR :
PR :
Shannon Stephaniuk

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors