I went to Croatia for Yacht Week this summer and it was quite the experience. As you can obviously tell from the title… this will include some racial discussion… duh.
When I booked my flight to Croatia back in January 2017, I knew that the country Croatia itself did not have many Black people in their population. I wasn’t expecting to see a flock of Black people roaming the streets. I did however think that Yacht Week and its festivities would be a bit more diverse because… let’s face it millennials, particularly black millennials love to be in the mix. However that wasn’t the experience that I had.
This post is going to be specifically about my experience with The Yacht Week and not in the country of Croatia itself. To read more on my experience in the country you can head here!
Being Black In Croatia On Yacht Week
As my yacht week departure was approaching I was all over social media reading up on reviews, and checking out hashtags to see what it was really like. Every thing I researched showed an overall fun time and I loved finding groups of black people having a dope time.
Now fast forward to week 34 of The Yacht Week and you have what seemed to be the lightest week in Yacht week history. And I say that as politically correct as possible. Out of the 50+ yachts that took part in week 34 there were 4 boats that contained a majority of black people on them. One of those boats being mine which was probably the smallest group during the entire week: 3. Besides the four predominantly black boats, you had maybe 2-3 boats that had Latinos aboard, and a light sprinkling of Asian cultures for good measure.
That was the minority line up in a nutshell for the week. However it didn’t bother me at first because I’m used to being a minority, and I come from the US where I’m constantly reminded of such. For the most part I was particularly unbothered by the entire experience… but it most certainly was an experience that I feel needs to be shared/heard. For the most part in my research no one mentioned what it was like being a black person on Yacht Week, and it wasn’t unit a few weeks ago (after my trip) that a fellow blogger shared her black experience as well. So let’s get into it shall we…
1. The Music: Yacht Week is one giant party night after night, and time to drink more or recover in the day. I was on the trip with one of my closest friends who just so happens to be a DJ. He was thoroughly unimpressed by the EDM fiasco that was blaring from the speakers. That is essentially all you will hear. The music did get better as we progressed in the week. Out of the 6 parties that were thrown during the week, 3 of them (the last three) had more variety including hip hop, rap, reggae, and pop.
Now I love a good head banger and fist bump as much as the next person. I’ve been in and out of music festivals for the last 5 years so… I know EDM is used to get the crowd hype. However EDMifying every track for three days straight started to take its toll and I spent no more than an hour at each party. (I skipped out of two of them after 30 minutes).
2. The People: The Yacht Week in Croatia is gentrification on a boat at its peak. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraphs the music at the parties was trash… but the music on the boats was POPPING! And again… be reminded that there were only 4-6 “minority” boats and they were not the ones mainly playing very Hot 97 and Power 105.1 friendly tracks. I was hearing everything from Biggie Smalls to Cardi B from boat to boat, and yes… yes I did watch to see if there were “N” bombs being dropped during sing alongs. Long story short: Yes… yes there were.
Besides the music choice, the people on the Yacht Week were immensely friendly. Almost friendly to a fault. You will get the same basic questions at first no matter what color you are: What/s your name, Where are you from. Those are the basics and completely fine. Then you get into the “Can I touch your hair?”
I didn’t face/see or pay attention to many micro aggressions while walking in the city streets. If I was receiving stares I really wasn’t paying much attention to take notice. I enjoyed the people in the city of Split much more than the people that were a part of The Yacht Week. It seemed as though the people on The Yacht Week were more interested in having me as their token black friend for the week than actually being normal human beings enjoying vacation. The immense desire to have me in their pics and snaps was quite forced and over the top. I don’t know if it is because “Get Out” just came out this year but over friendliness.. always comes off weird to me. It is a weird vibe and I for one like my space. Essentially people will be in your space at all times, which is why I spent most of the time running away and hiding on my yacht.
3. Blacks Will Gravitate to Other Blacks: Uh… that’s a given right? Even here in New York where we are extremely culturally diverse, we find that we tend to group together as a coping mechanism. There’s safety in numbers right? In other pictures I’ve seen of Yacht week I’ve seen huge groups of Black people having a great time (though that may only be one moment in time that happened to be captured).
That did not happen really on my week. The four boats that had black people on them did communicate, we shared a drink or two and yes… yes we played Spades. It was nice… but I don’t think we bonded for sake of friendship. More so… because we were giving side eyes about the same nonsense we saw happening around us. Or discussing the same questions were were being asked about our hair, what “hood are we from”, or how we get our skin to look like that? Uh… I was born with it… can’t help it. But once those brief moments were over it was a bit awkward. I think it felt awkward for me because I knew why we just so happened to be standing next to each other or having drinks together. It was an awkward aura in the air that made it seem more forced than organic.
Overall I enjoyed the experiences I had in the marinas we docked in. The parties were well thought out and executed effectively, but did not really show great variation or variety. As a Black person in Croatia for Yacht Week prepare your self to be a bit of a “token” if you allow yourself to be. I certainly feel that it is an expensive trip for you to not enjoy yourself, which is what I was determined to do. I don’t let anyone’s stupidity ruin my good time… especially if I’ve paid for it. I do recommend flying in a day or two earlier or staying a day or two longer so you can experience more of the actual country out side of just The Yacht Week.
Bring a larger group with you to ensure more organic fun if you are not a huge people person or partier. And most of all… have fun the way you want to. Don’t feel forced to attending every party or doing every activity they have on the agenda. My favorite days were when I got off the boat and broke off from the pack. Whether that was for food shopping, interacting with the locals, going wine tasting or doing yoga on the side of a mountain. Those were the peak highlights for me of the trip, not the parties and drinking with random strangers. This is certainly not to dissuade anyone from attending… it’s just to let you know what to prepare for on your travels.
Until next time!