A few Black Americans are hoping to be as far away from the United States as possible before President-elect Donald Trump finally takes office on Friday, Jan. 20. With their bags packed and personal belongings in tow, living/traveling abroad for the next four years is the plan for some African-Americans looking to avoid a dreaded Trump presidency.
Sixty-nine-year-old Audrey Edwards is one of those people.
Edwards, a journalist and real estate agent, said the idea of leaving the U.S. first crossed her mind when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced his run for the presidency back in 2008, NBC News reported. But it was the moment President-elect Trump descended on his fancy escalator, insulted Mexican immigrants by calling them rapists, and affirmed his intention to run for president of the United States that Edwards knew it was time to pack her bags.
“If somebody as crazy as this guy gets in, I’m out of here,” she said.
So, instead of painfully watching Trump’s inauguration come Friday, Edwards will be nearly 6,000 miles away enjoying herself in Paris. She told NBC News she plans to spend the next four years traveling the world with New York as her home base and is looking forward to celebrating her 70th birthday in the City of Lights — far away from the chaos that might unfold once Trump takes office.
“We as Black people have a history of being ex-pats,” Edwards said, “and a popular place has always been Paris.”
Historically, the famous French city has been the go-to spot for African-American artists and writers like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Josephine Baker, who all sought inspiration and enlightenment. The city also was a means of freedom from the discrimination and threat of racial violence back in America.
The continent of Africa provided a similar escape for authors and activists like Maya Angelou and W.E.B. DuBois, who sought to broaden their work through a deeper understanding of the diaspora, according to NBC News.
Bernard Walker, who has lived in the Ghanaian capital of Accra since April 2014 and heads The Rene Group, LLC, an export management and development company, said he is excited about the prospects of the African nation under the new leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo. However, he can’t say the same about the changes that are about to take place under Trump’s administration back in America.
“I’m not on a mission to renounce the USA, but to grow and expand both [countries],” Walker said.
Taking a page out of Great Britain’s book, Keren Johnson called her move out of the U.S. a “Blaxit.” After letting the lease expire on her Los Angeles apartment, Johnson told NBC News that she plans to make stops all around the world, including St. Thomas for the 65th Annual Carnival, Cuba, Jamaica and Costa Rica, among other places.
Johnson said leaving the U.S. has been on her bucket list for a while but became a pressing priority after Hillary Clinton’s crushing defeat in the November 8 election. The Los Angeles woman had previously worked as a staffer on Clinton’s campaign.
“It’s hard to deny that I’m a huge Hillary Clinton supporter,” she said. “When Trump won, I was in Ghana wearing my Hillary T-shirt from the first election. I had fallen asleep, and heard my friends whispering, ‘Who’s going to wake her up and tell her?’ I was devastated.”
As she came to terms with the former First Lady’s loss, Johnson figured now would be the best time leave and not look back — until 2020 of course.
“What better time than now?” she said. “I have no kids, no major responsibilities … Have passport, will go.”