[Exclusive] Take A Tour Of Rihanna's Homeland Of Barbados
BOSSIP Be Barbados Trippin’: Dive Into Black History, Black Excellence & Extravagance In Rihanna’s Homeland
A beautiful island can provide the perfect backdrop for Black History Month, an HBCU-celebrating festival, and leisurely vacays with white sandy beaches and luxury.
Barbados is rightfully a hot topic of discussion after one of the country’s national heroes made headlines during Super Bowl LVII.
Rihanna or The Right Excellent Robyn Fenty repped her island at halftime and in an Apple Music ad filmed at her childhood home on St. Michael parish’s Rihanna Drive.
And while some people are just now buzzing over Barbados, the Caribbean country was already at the top of BOSSIP’s mind after Managing Editor Dani Canada explored its Black voices, Black businesses, and history along with its ties to HBCU culture.
Reps for Barbados’ Tourism Marketing Inc. (or BTMI) served as guides around the island that’s rich with African diasporic culture, food, and attractions. BOSSIP and other journalists learned about not only Barbados but about FABA-For Alumni, By Alumni fest coming to the exotic locale on Juneteenth weekend.
Eusi Skeete, U.S. Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. noted that FABA is the continuation of a very strong relationship that Barbados has had not just with the HBCUs, but also with black travelers across the U.S. who’ve flooded the travel industry.
“This is especially significant for Barbados because as we look to diversify our audiences across the US market, we recognize that the African American traveler, in general, makes a significant impact on travel,” said Skeete.
His words were echoed by Tenisha Holder, Senior Business Development Officer of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. who added that Barbados is the “perfect backdrop” for FABA fest 2023 because of the deep ties between Barbados and the U.S.
Whether you’re traveling to Barbados for FABA or just leisurely vacationing, read on about ways to explore this gorgeous getaway via our BOSSIP Be Trippin’ travel guide.
For history buffs or just Americans with a penchant for learning, Barbados is booming with Black history that you can personally experience.
As #BHM continues we delved into the island’s beginnings and received a wealth of knowledge via our tour guide Dawn Lisa Smith.
“We have adopted Black history month but our story’s a little different,” said Smith. “For Barbadians, Black history month is every day. For most Caribbean people, Black history is every day.”
“Unlike the U.S, Black leadership is normal for us,” she added. “We celebrate Black history as part of our norm. The understanding is that there’s still racism, there are still cultural issues, that doesn’t change, but we have Black leadership and not just Black leadership, but fantastic Black female leadership.”
While walking us through Golden Square Freedom Park, Smith told us about South Carolina and other states’ direct ties to Barbados.
“South Carolina was Barbados’ colony, the first ten governors of South Carolina—Barbadian,” said Smith. “The first governor of New York, Barbadain, the first governor of Virginia—Barabdian, all Barbadian.”
She also detailed the story of Barbados’ national hero The Right Excellent Clement Osbourne Payne who was expelled from the island in 1937 after delivering a speech at Golden Square in 1937, urging black Barbadians to stand up to white plantation owners.
He is one of 11 national heroes of Barbados. Rihanna officially became number 11 in 2021.
“Golden Square is a celebration of our freedom,” said Smith. “It’s a celebration of who we are, it’s a celebration of all Barabdos. Every Barbadian family can find their name on this wall. Every Barbadian who worked to make Barbados the society it is today can find their name on wall, as new names come in they’ll be added.”
We also learned about The Right Excellent Sarah Ann Gill who kept Methodism alive and educated slaves. Gill was so dynamic during the early 19th century that she was dubbed the Heroine of Methodism and Freedom.
Dawn Lisa Smith spent several hours alongside journalists in attendance dishing out incredible knowledge. She even joined us on an island safari via Island Safari Barbados who treated us to an off-roading and extensive adventure across Barbados’ 11 parishes including Saint Joseph where saw stunning sights like the Bathsheba village where surfers flock to catch waves.
Champers is a stunning south coast restaurant and wine bar overlooking Rockley Beach where we experienced the beauty of Barbados in culinary and scenic form.
Owned by restaurateur Chiryl Newman, Champers uses locally-grown produce and Barbados-caught seafood to make delicious dishes.
We thoroughly enjoyed Champers’ scallops, ribeye, and warm bread pudding with Bajan rum and orange sauce.
During dinner, BOSSIP chatted with Eusi Skeete, U.S. Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, who praised Newman for always “delivering an experience that doesn’t compromise on the culture and local flavor of Barbados.”
“You can always come and have a great experience at Champers,” said Skeete while noting that the restaurant remained in business despite the pandemic. “The food is always so consistent here.”
Champers is also the home of the “On The Wall Art Gallery”, a bright and colorful space that showcases the works of local, resident, and Caribbean artists.
During our time in Barbados, we also took a trip to Oistins, an active fishing town on the south coast that’s a popular tourist attraction, and home to the world’s best open-air fish fry.
At Oistins, tourists and Barbadians alike enjoy delicious food and music via a rotating selection of DJs.
We had an amazing night under the stars at Oistin’s that included dancing, fellowship, fun, and grilled Marlin.
You can dine in the lap of luxury at The Cliff.
A fine-dining establishment with stunning views, over 1500 varieties of wines, and a glass sea-facing kitchen, we see why The Cliff has been lauded as the apex of a romantic date night experience. During dinner, we were warmly greeted by Guest Relations Manager Peter Harris a.k.a. Huggie and enjoyed the North Atlantic stone crab, beef wellington with truffle Madeira jus, and dark chocolate delice dessert.
The restaurant also offers incredible views of marine life as it’s situated alongside illuminated water and has craft cocktails, a lounge, and private dining areas.
Cuz’s Fish Shack
We’d be absolutely remiss if we didn’t tell you about Cuz’s that’s lauded as the home of the best fish sandwich or “cutter” in Barbados. Cuz’s is a no-frills seaside fish shack that serves fish sandwiches served on a salt-bread bun with or without cheese. The cutters are bursting with flavor and freshness and can be offset by pepper sauce.
ATTRACTIONS & ACCOMMODATIONS
Barbados is home to Seaduced, a 62 ft catamaran offering a luxury yachting experience that you and your crew can enjoy.
Seaduced offered stunning ocean views and allowed for water sports, snorkeling, and paddleboarding complete with an amiable captain, crew, and first mates who took us around the island’s pristine anchorage and extended us the utmost hospitality.
Onboard, drinks were served by celebrity bartender Phillip Casanova who told BOSSIP about different ways his Casnova Liquid Artistry makes elevated cocktails that pair perfectly pair with food.
Speaking of food, Chef Trevon Stoute, the award-winning Executive Chef of Pavão Barbados, served us delicious food during our private experience. Chef Stoute prides himself on providing luxury culinary experiences on the island and has developed his own chocolate line, something we also happily sampled. A multifaceted entrepreneur, he’s also designed water-resistant clothes for the food industry.
Crystal Cove By Elegant Hotels
A beautifully secluded all-inclusive property in Saint James Parish, Crystal Cove provided up-close views and access to the ocean, complimentary watersports, and lagoon-style swimming pools.
Quiet and quaint, Crystal Cove prides itself on sharing the “Barbadian warmth” with guests, and the exceptionally friendly and welcoming staff did just that.
Crystal Cove served as the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day full of exploration.
Atlantis Submarine Tours
Have you ever been 150 feet under the ocean and seen a shipwreck? We have.
Atlantis Submarines operates submarine tours during the day and night from its offices at The Shallow Draught, Bridgetown, Barbados.
We were part of a select group of journalists who took a daytime tour featuring a guided exploration of marine life that included a wide array of fish and coral reefs.
General Manager Roseanne Myers noted that Atlantis Submarines Barbados is one of the most unique and highly recommended attractions in Barbados and this particular one, is the longest-operating Atlantis Submarine site in the world that recently marked 36 years in operation.
While onboard the Atlantis, Chef Creig Greenidge, an award-winning Culinary Ambassador for the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, served incredible eats that included tamarind ginger fried chicken, pumpkin fritter waffles, and lime scotch bonnet, and pickled jumbo shrimp.
After coming back above water, we enjoyed a private rum tasting via Rummelier Dameain Williams who told us about the intricacies of rum from West Indies Rum Distillery, home to Stade’s and Plantation rum that’s aged in beach vats.
We tasted dark rum from Stade’s while listening to Williams recommend drinking it with a chaser or just a cube of ice that opens up the taste of the rum as it dilutes and pairs well with a cigar. For white rum, he recommends also drinking it with grapefruit juice, orange juice, or Bajan cherry juice.
Atlantis Submarine Tours provides a truly unique and incredible experience.
Mount Gay Distillery Tour
A trip to Barbados just wouldn’t be complete without a rum tour, and this one has an HBCU connection.
We explored Mount Gay Rum’s distillery and met Trudiann Branker, Barbados’ first female master blender who also happens to be a Howard University grad.
Mount Gay recently celebrated 324 years, making it the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery, and Branker’s at the helm after getting her degree in biology and working as a brewer.
“There are few women and even fewer Black women,” said Branker about the business of being a master blender.
Branker, who enjoys Mount Gay XO and soda water, uses her STEM background to personally ensure that Mount Gay remains the most highly celebrated spirit in Barbados.
During our tour, we also had the opportunity to open two types of Mount Gay Barrels and sip the barrel-strength rum while learning about how to nose and taste the liquid. We also toured the factory where we learned about the fermentation, distillation, and Mount Gay maturation process.
Barbados Was A Blast
After thoroughly exploring Rihanna’s homeland, we absolutely understand why events and festivals have chosen it as the host location.
Barbados’ array of cultural and culinary adventures are unmatched, its beaches are beautiful and the Bajan spirit is inviting and warm.
We’ll be back!
We thoroughly enjoyed trippin’ through Barbados—will YOU be visiting next?
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