About the Creator
Nia Alexander Campbell is an artist and writer from Richmond, Virginia. She received a BFA in Painting & Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University with a minor in Art History (emphasizing in Black art and cinema) and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Design from VCUarts Qatar. Nia's creative practice explores the ways collage, writing, and traditional & digital painting mediums can be used to tell stories through design. She believes that storytelling in any medium can function as an excellent way to combat ignorance, give a voice to the otherwise unheard, and bridge the divides we see in our world today. Learn more about her art and writing practice here and in the document below.
Photograph by Paulo Fugen
How Black Girls Abroad Began
Nia took her first trip abroad as undergraduate arts student. She attended all the study abroad meetings and covered her dorm room with sticky notes covered in research, all in the name of preparing for the trip. However, she found that what she experienced abroad held little in common with what she had researched. She realized that it was because the experiences she had read about weren’t written by people in her situation, people whose lives didn’t inhabit any of the intersections that come with being Black, American, female, a student, or an artist. All those qualities, in their various combinations, colored her experience abroad in unique and striking ways, affirming that her experiences were just as valuable as the others she had sought. In 2018, a year after her first international adventure, Nia launched Black Girls Abroad to offer her travel narratives to the underrepresented communities whose voices she wants to elevate. Beginning by sharing her own experiences, Nia seeks to eventually build a library of travel narratives by Black women to make the dialogue within the travel community more inclusive.
Photograph by Paulo Fugen
A Message for the Black Girls
We are Black and we are women, and we have every right to be proud of that, but you know what else we are?
We are diverse.
We all look different, have different passions, different goals, different personalities.
We are also human.
We get tired and irritable, hungry and sick, frustrated, excited, scared, happy. All the things that give humanity to humans are inside of us.
But sometimes the world forgets that.
To be a Black woman is to be held to standards that sometimes feel less than human. The way we feel pain — be it emotional or physical—is somehow different. The way we behave proves this stereotype or reasons that bias reaction. Even just being our authentic selves—whether that self is confident, sad, joyful, knowledgeable, and everything in between — often garners judgement that suggest we are somehow less than.
Less than human.
So, yes, this blog is about being a Black woman abroad, but it’s also about just being human. It’s about being someone in school, someone who’s broke, someone who’s nerdy.
Someone with a passion, someone who loves, someone who gets anxious and overwhelmed.
Someone who has experienced trauma. Someone who is growing. Someone who is trying to figure themselves out in the way we all do at every stage of life.
Someone who is Black, female, and just as human as everyone else.
I am just a single representative of a large, beautiful, and unique community of black women who are indeed both black and female, but who are also so much more.
So, for all the girls who are proud to be black, female, and more, this is for you.