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.
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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
How to connect with Rue on the Socials
Her plans/visions for 2023
Thinking about succession planning for Outdoor Afro
Final words of advice
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.
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