When you think about the most recent travel advertisement you saw, do you recall seeing any Black people?

After realizing there were not many Black people represented in travel company commercials, entertainer Tyrese Gibson knew that something had to be changed. From this thought, he created Voltron Travel, an online travel platform that was launched in 2013.

It’s a Black-owned travel service that is dedicated to making the booking experience nothing short of ordinary for people who look like us.

Now, the actor has relaunched his platform powered by Priceline® Partner Network. Recently, the travel company announced that it will partner with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to provide scholarships and other educational opportunities for thousands of students each school year. 

“We applaud Tyrese Gibson and Voltron Travel for their commitment to the Black College Community,” said TMCF Vice President of Development Betsy Burton-Strunk in an official statement. “Finding partners with shared values is a high priority for TMCF and the students we serve. Voltron Travel, like TMCF, is committed to education and serving its community. With those things in common, we look forward to the great things that will come from their support and engagement with TMCF.”

Tyrese joined AfroTech via Zoom to discuss the importance of the partnership and why representation for people who look like us in the travel industry is vital.

1. The Inspiration Behind The Partnership

“Partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a true privilege,” said Tyrese. “Voltron Travel is fully committed to empowering Black excellence by investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.”

For him, it’s also about encouraging others, particularly HBCU students, to enter the space by leading the way.

“I’m one of those people who believes in dreaming with my eyes open,” shared Tyrese. “I want to become the things that I see and I think by being in the travel space will encourage other Black and brown people to enter the travel space.”

2. Building A Legacy Outside Of Entertainment

Tyrese’s big break came at age 16 when he starred in a commercial for Coca-Cola. The appearance ultimately led to a record deal with RCA Records in early 1998 and it’s been upward ever since.

He didn’t just stop at singing. Tyrese also had his breakout role in John Singleton’s “Baby Boy” in 2001. Tyrese has gone on to take Hollywood by storm with roles in films like “The Fast & Furious” sagas, “Waist Deep,” and more. 

Outside of his success as an entertainer, he wants the world to remember him for helping others.

“If it all ended for me tomorrow, I wouldn’t want anyone to just think of my value as what was in my bank account,” Tyrese expressed. “I wouldn’t want anybody to think of me as just another celebrity with hit records. I want people to say, ‘this man poured wisdom and knowledge into me.’ I want to really encourage people to approach life in terms of what they want their legacy to look like.”