top of page

Rue Mapp - Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro. Author: Nature Swagger

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Rue founded Outdoor Afro as a social enterprise in 2009.

The now national not-for-profit celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. Headquartered in Oakland, California, Outdoor Afro incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2015. Today, the staffed organization includes more than 100 trained volunteer leaders, led and designed by Rue to innovate not-for-profit as movements of change.

International cruise line Hurtigruten Expeditions made cruise industry history with the creation of its Black Traveler Advisory Board. Hurtigruten invited Rue to become one of its founding members. Rue took an 18-day Antarctica voyage in February 2022 to help drive change and new opportunities for Black people in the adventure cruise industry, increasing visibility and inclusivity of Black travellers.

When Rue shares stories from the land, people of all walks of life listen. She’s served on national platforms with congresspeople, outdoor professionals, corporate partners, and global leaders.

“Nature Swagger” is Rue’s first book by American publisher Chronicle Books. This project is a beautiful combination of breathtaking photos and compelling stories of Black joy in nature. The book releases to the public Nov. 1, 2022.

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Sign up as a Patron - Thank you.


Listen to Rue Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.


Show notes

  • Who is Rue and what she does

  • Living in Northern California

  • Growing up between the city and a ranch

  • Early childhood memories from spending time in nature

  • The importance of hospitality

  • Learning more about her family

  • Having a natural curiosity for the environment

  • The stories that weren’t being told

  • Sharing a new narrative of the Black experience

  • The origin story of Outdoor Afro in 2009

  • Asking herself the question - what does she really want to do?

  • Growing through outdoor experiences

  • Being an early adopter of technology

  • Growing a team of 120 Outdoor Afro Volunteer Leaders

  • The joy of nature and the joy of being outside

  • The importance of remaining a practitioner

  • Her love of the water

  • Spending time in Antarctica

  • The importance of having the right gear

  • Designing a new clothing collaboration with REI

  • REI X Outdoor Afro

  • Wanting to solve problems especially with fit and function

  • Wanting to wear bright colours

  • 2022 and what a year it’s been

  • Why Outdoor Afro has been a 13 year overnight success story

  • Writing her book over the past 2 years

  • Book: Nature Swagger Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors

  • How to connect with Rue on the Socials

  • Her plans/visions for 2023

  • Thinking about succession planning for Outdoor Afro

  • Final words of advice


Social Media


Instagram @ruemapp

Facebook @RueMapp

Twitter @RueMapp

Book: Nature Swagger Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors.

An exquisite combination of beautiful photography and compelling stories, this book from Outdoor Afro founder, Rue Mapp, celebrates Black joy in nature.

Filled with breathtaking photography, inspiring stories, profiles, and spotlights from Outdoor Afro group members, prominent Black leaders in outdoor spaces, and other organizations, this book inspires Black communities to reclaim their place in the natural world. Interspersed throughout are essays from Mapp on the rich history of Black involvement in the outdoors, activism, and conservation, as well as resources for readers who want to deepen their own connection with the elements. A perfect blend of gorgeous photographs, awe-inspiring stories, and Black history, this collection is the perfect gift for anyone looking to heal in these sacred natural spaces.


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron


bottom of page