The Daily - June 11,2022 - 66

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F R O M T H E F L O O R
James Edward Mills
(left), Jahmicah Dawes,
and Chad Brown
land, we seemed to find ourselves.
" This is a very important image,
a picture that needs to be established, "
Brown now says. " We
should be acknowledged and
seen as thriving in the outdoors.
Everyone in our group is an influencer
in their own space. They are
professionals. They are educated.
Blackwaters is an opportunity to
show and even flex who we are in
the outdoors. "
For years now, Brown has led
Empowerment on the Fly
The Blackwaters Expedition and subsequent film will showcase the
fly-fishing skill and general badassery of five leaders in this industry
who happen to be Black. By James Edward Mills
NEXT MONTH, ENVIRONMENTALprotection
advocate Chad Brown
will lead a groundbreaking fly-fishing
expedition through Gates of
the Arctic National Park in Alaska.
The founder of Love Is King will be
accompanied by four other leaders
whose work focuses on making the
great outdoors more accessible to
those who we don't often see in the
wilds of nature.
As a storyteller, I'm excited to be
part of this remarkable crew of anglers,
which also includes Jahmicah
Dawes, owner of Slim Pickins
Outfitters; Alex Baily, founder
of Black Outside; and Nicholas
Brooks, creator of Outdoor Gear
and Beer. Each of these men are
exceptional in their particular approach
to life in the outdoors. But
the one thing we have in common
66
is a passionate desire to share our
love of the natural world within
the communities each of us call
home. And through our journey
along the Kobuk River in the
ancestral lands of the Akunirmiut
and Kuuvaum Kangianirmiut
people, we aim to navigate our
respective paths to make the
outdoors more diverse, equitable,
and inclusive on this project called
Blackwaters.
The purpose of our expedition
was first conceived last year at the
Outdoors For All conference in Old
Fort, North Carolina. In recent
years, each of us has attended
many such get-togethers to discuss
the myriad issues surrounding
DEI in outdoor recreation. The
five of us have dedicated much
of our personal and professional
/ OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2022
lives to creating safe spaces where
people of color can safely recreate
in nature. We have shared our
experiences in countless news
articles, interviews, and keynotes
for years, but there comes a time
when you just need to shut up and
go fishing.
So, in mid-October of 2021, we
piled into cars and made our way
to Mill Creek, not far from Asheville,
North Carolina. In boots
and waders, we strolled out into
water just below our knees to cast
rods with lines and flies, hoping to
tempt the fish to bite. But it really
wasn't fish we were after. Standing
there in the flowing stream, we
could see one another, as if for the
first time, each in our own joy and
revery. There, as five Black men,
free to roam the waters of public
many expeditions into the Alaskan
Arctic. His nonprofit organization,
Soul River Inc., creates
opportunities for veterans and
disadvantaged young people to
experience the outdoors through
fly-fishing excursions in remote
wilderness areas. To express the
many ways that Black men present
themselves as outdoor enthusiasts,
the Blackwaters expedition will be
documented as a film that Brown
hopes will redefine how the general
public perceives those who call
themselves anglers.
" It's important to create spaces
in the outdoors where Black men
can feel safe because it helps right
the wrongs of the past and gives
us a chance to heal, " says Dawes.
" I would love for my son to never
know what it's like to feel unsafe in
the outdoors. And I think we will be
bringing that to life with this project
and the film we are making. "
" Even though it's low budget,
I think Blackwaters could be
different take on films like A River
Runs Through It, " he says with a
laugh. " This is Black men coming
from different angles of life. We're
going to fly-fish, but we're going to
tell our story. "
LAUREN DANILEK

The Daily - June 11,2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - June 11,2022

The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover1
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover2
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 1
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 2
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 3
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 4
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The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover3
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018winter
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016winter
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