“If you come from our culture you should never step foot in the cosmopolitan hotel they just really racist as hell… something really has to be done in Las Vegas what they doing to black people!” That’s what rapper Meek Mill said on Twitter after he was turned away from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The hotel maintains they are a private business and have the freedom to turn away individuals in the name of security — not race. Meek sees the incident quite differently. Either way, there are larger issues at stake.
Video from the incident shows hotel staff members informing Meek Mill that he could be arrested for trespassing if he enters the hotel. Meek was obviously not engaging in any criminal activity but for one reason or another the Cosmopolitan didn’t want him there. We can all scream racism and that very well might be true. The better course, however, is to focus on building and maintaining spaces that we own and control. After all, if the Cosmopolitan doesn’t want Meek Mill, why should he or any of us want to give them our hard earned money?
The next time you travel, take the time to research Black owned alternatives. Innclusive and Noirbnb are Black owned alternatives to Airbnb. Both were launched in response to the many racist horror stories that Black folks have had using Airbnb’s platform. DailyRoomRentals focuses on renting out spare bedrooms, in a variety of locations. In addition, there are a host of Black owned hotels and resorts sprinkled throughout the country. We need not be made to feel uncomfortable and spend our money to do so when there are alternatives.
The idea of seeking out safe lodging isn’t new for Black people. For decades Black folks relied on The Green Book to highlight where safe lodging could be found. Today we have the internet and a host of other resources to assist us. We spend millions each year as we travel, why not spend it in our own community, where we are valued and are safe? Every obstacle is an opportunity to buy Black and we should embrace them as just that.