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Belgian Man Who Wished He Was Black Moves to Senegal to Start New Life

After quitting his high–paying tech job in New York to become a full-time travel vlogger, Nusseir Yassin has met all sorts of folks on his trips across the globe and now chronicles their experiences in short, one-minute videos.

“When you spend a lot of time in your job, you realize you’re just selling your time in exchange for money,” Yassin told WBUR in January. “I wasn’t really progressing much … And so I decided to quit and actually make use of every single day, and make something in that day, which is a one-minute video.”

During a recent stop in Dakar, Senegal, the “Nas Daily” creator met a Belgium-born man who has always wished he was Black — so much so that he once painted his skin Black.

Clement Suleiman’s “trans-racial” identity was enough for his mother to take him to see a psychologist, who recommended they visit Africa on their next vacation. At the tender age of 13, Suleiman found himself in Senegal and never looked back.

From there, he gained his citizenship, learned all five of the country’s dialects, started his own business and eventually wed a Senegalese woman. The couple now has two children.

“And right now, I’m happy,” Suleiman said.

Suleiman’s journey garnered lots of reactions with some applauding him for being a “cultural appreciator” and not an “appropriator.” Others wondered if this is any different from Rachel Dolezal’s story.

David Tempio asked, “Watching this episode, I can’t help but think of Rachel Dolezan (formerly of the NAACP then outed as a white girl) … but somehow this story is less offensive? Somewhat different? Yes? No? What do you think”

Commenters were eager to answer his question, one person noted, “The difference is Dolezal was actively pretending to be black because of the advantages it provided to her, she lied about her race and background and used that as a tool to get a job. This man isn’t claiming to be black at all, but rather appreciating their culture.”

Hear more of his story in the video clip above and share your thoughts below!

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