Charles Belk is a veteran entertainment marketing professional and digital marketer. He travels abroad for months at a time before returning to his home base of Los Angeles to recharge, reorganize and sate his craving for IHOP pancakes. Charles is visiting Medellin, Colombia. He’s been here for four months and counting.
Over six feet tall, 230 pounds and Black, the technical term we use back home for a man like Charles is “Big Black Guy.” I highlight these details because of what I call Charles’ 15 minutes of infamy. He was falsely arrested in the United States because he fit the description of a bank robbery suspect: tall, bald, Black. This happens a lot in the United States, especially to Black people.
Charles parleyed his experience handcuffed and arrested for a crime he didn’t commit into the nonprofit Fitting the Description, which advocates for the passage of #AutoErase laws that switch the onus of eradicating false arrest records from the innocent victim to the arresting institution.
In the latest GrupoAmos on Colombia podcast I talk with Charles about his work, his nonprofit and in particular about how safe he feels visiting Colombia and traveling the world versus staying at home in the United States.
Click here for the podcast.
True to form for us 21st century digital marketers, Charles has a blog where he chronicles his adventures (hopefully not mishaps) as a Black man traveling the world. He calls it Black Man And Abroad.