Tai Beauchamp is a host, activist, personality, and much, much more. She celebrates those from all walks of life, but she is especially passionate about sharing her love of travel with young women and African American travelers. We caught up with her and asked about her new show, “Lens of Culture,” co-hosted by Elton Anderson.
You and Elton both have very different backgrounds coming into this show. How do you think your knowledge in these areas has helped you to create the series?
Oh, that’s a really great question. We do have different backgrounds for sure. Elton actually started his career in corporate America and then left to pursue photography. I, on the other hand, started my career in magazine editing as an editor. It then translated into being on television, a personality, a host, and a fashion correspondent–then television host and entrepreneur.
What makes the show so unique and so special is not only that we have different perspectives, but we have authentic chemistry. I think the perspective that we each bring to travel is unique in the way that Elton is truly a “wanderlust.” He travels for the passion of travel. I travel, of course for the passion of travel, but I also travel extensively for work. I think our unique perspectives are that Elton loves adventure travel and I really like to luxuriate and experience culture and art while traveling. Those are definitely different perspectives, but he’s brought me on to the other side of really enjoying adventure. I went paragliding, I went on a swamp tour, I went glamping. I did a lot of things that I wouldn’t typically do as a traveler and it’s really broadened my perspective.
But what I think is really magical about how we connect on “Lens of Culture” is that we traveled for the same reasons. We traveled to experience humanity, to connect with other people, to understand what it’s like to live in a place. Then, take those experiences to be impacted and to feel emboldened and empowered to live our lives more boldly.
A lot of it comes down to having a good travel partner, whether they’re your best friend or your romantic partner, whoever they might be. Just having that person sometimes can make the journey a lot more fun.
It does. We really opened each other’s perspective. Like he loves food. I love a great drink. I love a real full on experience. I love talking to people. We definitely have different styles. Elton and I knew each other before the show. However, we were not good friends before. Now after traveling with someone for five and a half months straight and really getting to know each other, I feel like I have a lifelong friend now. It was like traveling with a stranger and then building a friendship from there.
Millennials tend to travel differently than other age groups. How would you describe a typical millennial traveler?
I think millennials are really excited to experience culture. Part of that may be that they want to take an amazing photo, right? But I find that black millennials especially are not afraid to go outside of the typical places that everyone has been. They’re really excited to see new places. They’re willing to pay for the experience. And what that means is that generationally, when I think about how my parents travel, they love a cruise or they go to a resort and they never leave. With millennials, it really is about how do you experience a culture fully because they’re trying to tap into something different than they experience every single day.
What are we doing right as millennial travelers? Are we being more culturally sensitive do you think than other generations are? Or are there things we can improve on?
I think the thing that you’re doing right as millennials is that you’re really operating without boundaries. One of the reasons why I decided to do this show is because I feel it’s so important, especially for young women of color. My passion point is asking how can I support and champion young women. I feel like my life in many ways has been an example of the possibilities. If they see someone like me, and if you see someone like me traveling abroad, trying new foods, having different types of conversations, not feeling bound by the constructs that society have pinned on us. What that does is that it not only expands your life and your experience as a traveler, but it’s metaphoric for how you live life, right?
Those lessons that you take from that travel experience become the lessons that you take into the boardroom. Those become the lessons that you take into your entrepreneurial journey. Those become the lessons that you take into your relationships. I think that millennials are doing that 100 percent right. I also believe that millennials are perhaps spending less of their money and resources on trends and the hottest new bag and investing more in creating experiences. I love the fact that millennials are doing a lot of group travel.
There are definitely a lot of amazing things that I think young millennials are doing. In terms of opportunities that I think are important for us to experience, go to the continent. Spend as much time as you can on the continent. I think it’s beautiful and wonderful to travel to Eastern Europe, one of my favorite places, or to China or to Australia–to spend as much time on a continent. I think the opportunity is not only to spend time there, but figure out how you can invest in the continent. That’s what we need. That’s the other opportunity.
How do we turn these into empowerment opportunities for other people as well as then how do we turn these into real estate development and financial independence and wealth building for ourselves as well?
There obviously needs to be an improvement when it comes to representing African American travelers. How do you think is the best way for the travel industry to go about that?
That’s a great question. I think first and foremost, I have to shout out to Kellee Edwards, who went from a journalist to Travel Channel host–she really created a blueprint for Elton and I. “Lens of Culture” is the first travel show to have two black hosts. That is monumental in and of itself. I think the way that we’re going to continue to help shift what’s happening in the world and in the industry is do as you do, and as we do, share our travel experiences and support the brands and the companies that support and honor you as a consumer. That’s really, really important because we speak with our dollars. Support this show. Support this show because honestly, this was a significant investment for TV One and Cleo TV to actually take this on.
I’ve shared before that Elton and I weren’t supposed to actually have a full-fledged travel show. What they had originally pitched was supposed to be a 10-minute video of branded content that would have aired on the network. After Elton and I were put together for another show on the network, they saw our chemistry and as a result we gave us a full show.
I think it’s really important to support the show, talk about the show. If you don’t have Cleo TV, ask for Cleo TV. Stay tuned to the website, myCleo.TV and stay connected there. Communicate with us. I’m so proud of Zim, the founder of “Travel Noire,” which recently sold to “Blavity.” There are young black people out here celebrating and sharing those experiences.
Don’t just make it about a picture though. Let’s talk about what we’re learning while there. Let’s talk about how we’re being empathic. Let’s talk about what are the other opportunities while we’re traveling to volunteer in communities. I’m always, especially when I’m on the continent, looking for an opportunity to give back.
The other thing is talk to younger people, not just millennials. Go back and talk to your little cousins, your siblings, go to schools and talk to young people about the power of travel–especially in urban communities. There, you have parents and school counselors who are overwhelmed by the sheer thought of having to send a child to college, nonetheless, sending them abroad. We need to change that narrative.
We have to empower young people to realize that the borders of their hometowns and their communities are not meant to be walls that are set up and never broken down, so that you can live and experience the world fully–so that you can come back and impact your local community more thoroughly.
Tell us more about the show and your friendship with Elton. How did that come about?
We met during Essencefest in New Orleans while I hosted the Walmart stage. We had worked together, but we were not friends. We knew each other in passing. We always celebrated each other. It was nothing but love, love, love. However, we did not have a close relationship. It really evolved from this experience.
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Production for @lensofculture produced by @powerhouseproductionstv for @mycleotv is in swing. My cohost @eltonandersonjr + I are ready to take you on a journey to some of the most interesting places in the Diaspora. First stops include #DominicanRepublic + #PuertoRico. Where would you like for us to visit? — Here are a few #traveltips from Elton and I. Follow @lensofculture for more and for exclusive #BTS. 1. Live like a local. Ask the concierge at your hotel where he/she likes to spend time. ___ 2. Always pack your swimsuit when you go out for day trips. You may end up at a spa, beach, or waterfall. ___ 3. Make a hard copy of your passport and leave it with a next of kin or contact at home. Also keep a copy of your passport on your phone via TurboScan or another scanned app. ____ #lensofculture #travelnoire #TvHosts #photographer
Elton is truly not only one of the most amazing humans, but he’s become a very dear friend and we have established a really spiritual relationship and a spiritual bond. He’s my brother for life. That’s the other thing about travel that I think is so important. It’s like when we talk about the idea of going away to relax, that you step outside yourself to reconnect with yourself, right? Travel is not just a physical experience, it should be something that is transformative and spiritual for you.
Where are you headed to next? Or are you just enjoying that you’re not traveling currently?
I’m actually in Atlanta right now and I’ve been on the road for the last five and a half months. In the last five and a half months I think my assistant has calculated that I’ve probably stayed in Los Angeles at my apartment 40 days, maybe. I have a ticket booked to go to Europe for three months, so we’ll see if that happens because of other work opportunities. If a work opportunity comes up, I don’t know, I might end up in New York. I might end up in Atlanta. I might say in LA, who knows? My next trip I’m for sure going on is going glamping to Joshua Tree with four of my girlfriends.
Where can our readers find out some more information about you and Elton and the show?
You can go to MyCleo.TV to watch “Lens of Culture.” It airs every Saturday at 12 noon. You can follow me on Instagram at @taibeau and also at www.taibeauchamp.com. I’m working on a new project that I’m excited about that helps to coach and build confidence and disseminate fear for men and women. It helps them to achieve the lives that they want to live in travel, relationships, their career, and entrepreneurship. You can follow Elton at @EltonAndersonJR on social media. He also just launched a YouTube channel as well.
Header photo courtesy of Cleo TV.