SEATTLE — When a job transfer brought Marlie and Anthony Love from St. Louis to Seattle they had a lot of questions. Questions about the long dark winters. The so-called Seattle Freeze. And one more that they tackle head-on in their YouTube series “Traveling While Black in Seattle”.
“We kind of started the show because we knew back in Missouri there were certain places we just did not want to visit and we would be kind of nervous to visit just because of who we are,” says Marlie Love. “I couldn't find those places in Seattle no matter how much I googled.”
"Think of this channel as the 'Green Book' of the Northwest'", Anthony Love writes of the series. That's in reference to an annual guidebook for African American travelers from the 1930's well into the 1960's.
The couple hits the road on weekends, playing tourists. They visit national parks, fairs, farms, and towns, grading every experience on a 5 point scale.
“They’re based on the drive,” explains Marlie on the show. “The level of fun we had and, of course, most importantly how comfortably we feel as Black people visiting for the very first time.”
The target audience may originally have been other Black visitors, but now that there's a nationwide conversation on race taking place all kinds of people are watching and learning.
“We knew this was needed. We knew we had to kind of talk about these things,” says Marlie.
"Before the recent events happened we would get questions like why does it have to be 'traveling while Black in Seattle',” adds Anthony Love. “ I think that was because not a lot of folks were aware of what it's like to be an African-American person walking into places. There is a certain like anxiety or level of concern that you naturally have.”
The Loves actually have a lot of fun on their adventures, except for a rainy day visit to Bainbridge Island.
“The food was good and the service was great, but after the restaurant, the day was super boring,” Anthony Love says on the segment.
But even there they felt welcome. They give Bainbridge Island a 5 out of 5 on the comfort meter. So far no place they've visited has scored below a 4.
“Where we've gone to so far it's been good,” says Marlie Love.
The Loves are falling in love with their new hometown. They’ve been living in Seattle for a little over a year, and aren’t as homesick for St. Louis as they were at the start.
“When we come back here it actually feels like we are coming back home,” says Anthony Love, “and that is an awesome feeling.”