One of my favorite reality-documentary series was Dhani Travels The Globe. The show featured former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones as he travels abroad using sports to connect with the local people’s culture and traditions. Dhani’s presented something you usually don’t see on reality tv; an attractive, humble, professional, masculine Black man traveling the world. Unfortunately the show was cancelled after two seasons. Even though there still currently isn’t anything to fill this specific niche, VICE (in the recent past) offered up satisfaction by way of their ongoing Munchies series.
In a sweet but horribly short run, chef Tarik Abdullah travels around Washington giving us a glimpse into the foodie, Native Indian and cannabis culture of his state. What I really like about Tarik in this five series run, is that his welcoming, meek, cheery, genuinely caring disposition seems to facilitate a connection to the people he’s interviewing and interacting with. There is a sense that he wants to connect you to the people and not just “show you something quirky” before moving onto the next segment. I also like his grown man hipster urban fashion swag and how the subtleties of hip-hop / jazz nicely move the show along.
Even though this show focuses on Washington state, we still desperately need more shows in this vein featuring people of color that travel outside of their neighborhoods and cities. Displaying these types of imagery can ignite thinking outside of our comfort zones, which in turn can entice action to explore the world. All though all episodes are currently online, I will post each separately just to provide them their own shine and space.
The first featurette; Tarik Abdullah kicks off our journey around the Emerald State with a taste of Seattle’s classics: coffee, seafood, teriyaki, and late-night burgers at the beloved Dick’s Drive-In. Between teriyaki with some local Ave Rats on University, mounds of fried salmon and chips at Ivar’s Fish Bar, and a stop at Dick’s Drive-In for a burger, fries, and a vanilla shake, Tarik makes time to stop by Victrola Coffee Roasters for his first-ever coffee fix and learns that pouring latte art is even harder than it looks.