We had the good fortune of connecting with DeNorris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DeNorris, how does your business help the community?
As an African American, most of our culture, history, and heritage is denied to us. I remember being in school and my world history book was 300+ pages, but only 5 pages was about Africa. The only thing we were shown about our history in books and movies was slavery. This subconsciously impacted our community in a negative way. Then when you watch tv in the 90s, all the images you saw of Africa was extremely negative (violence, disease, people living in huts, etc.). This made many people within the black community to not want to be associated with Africa or wanted to visit Africa to make a connection with their heritage. And it also created a gap between African Americans and African immigrants living in America. I started “Travel and Truth” to showcase Africa and the Diaspora’s history, culture, and to show the side of Africa that the media rarely portrays. In my videos and social media post, I visit a lot of the ruins of African Kingdoms and Empires that were omitted by history books. This has given many of my viewers a sense of pride about who they are, and where they came from. In my videos and social media post, people can see me walking in modern cities in Africa and making connections with the people in each country I visit. They can see how safe it is to travel in Africa. This has inspired many of my viewers to no longer be afraid to visit the continent, and to visit several different countries in Africa. All of them have come back from their trips saying their lives have forever been changed. And a few have actually moved to Africa permanently.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I actually have two completely different professions. I’ve spent the last 13 years in Corporate America. I work as a consultant for a supply chain software company. In that profession, I’ve been able to sell and implement our solution to the largest manufacturing companies in the world. Half way through my corporate journey, I felt like there was a void missing and that I needed purpose in my life. So I took a sabbatical and traveled for 6 months in Africa. I filmed my experience as I backpacked from South Africa up to Egypt. When I got back to the States, I started a youtube channel called “Travel and Truth” to teach people in my community a lot of the things which was rarely shown or taught to us about Africa. The intent of the channel is to teach people but do it in an entertaining way. I am also creating a docuseries to showcase similar content, but in a more artistic way. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in both careers is that growth only happens when you step outside your comfort zone. I grew up on the eastside of Atlanta and rarely left the city. I never got on a plane until I was in my 20s and a a result, I had a fear of flying and I wasnt opened minded to experiencing different cultures. The biggest growth for me professionally, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually came from when I stepped outside my comfort zone to visit different countries and learn from their customs and traditions. Ive now visited close to 60 countries and its helped me be a more well rounded person.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ive took people to Ghana which is like my second home at this point. I typically take them to Accra, but afterwards I take them to Kumasi to visit the Akwasidae Festival. It’s at this festival in which they can see the Asantehene (King of the Ashante people). HE is one of the most powerful men in Africa and it typically wearing gold from his head to his feet. It is one of the most culturally rich festivals I’ve ever been to as well. People walk away from that festival in awe.Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I know it may sound cliche, but I’d like to give a ShoutOut my wife… and every spouse/mate who is super supportive of their partner’s goals, vision, brand. Being a creator is NOT easy (especially when you have a full time corporate job). It takes a lot of sacrifice of your time and money. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions as well. Speaking on behalf of myself and other creators, there’s times when you go through self-doubt, and there’s times when you want to flat out quit. Having someone that’s a ride-or-die by your side gives you the support and fuel to push through the challenging times.