Will The Real Fleacé Weaver Please Stand Up

New Bravo Show Appears to Borrow Heavily from’s Concept

‘To Rome for Love’ looks a lot like the life work of founder Fleacé Weaver

ROME—For Founder Fleacé Weaver, all roads do indeed lead to the Eternal City. It’s why back in 2006 she launched with Bella Italia, the travel club’s signature whirlwind tour to Italy for African-American female travellers. The primary goal of the tour was to encourage more Black women to consider the option of interracial dating by taking them to parts of the world where they are ”celebrated and not tolerated,” hoping they would return to the United States more open-minded about finding happiness by whatever means necessary. Her tours are about much more than just about travel.

For Weaver who many call The Dream Weaver and Ms Italy, its all about her belief in the power of global travel to radically reshape Black women’s lives, both while they’re on the road and when they return home.

“We were the first in 2006 to create international tours for African-American women,” says Weaver, who now lives in Rome. “There was not one group out there solely targeting African-American women. We were the first. As a matter of fact, most people told us it would be impossible for large groups of Black women to travel without any drama. Not only have we proved them wrong, but we have defined a new market segment that is currently exploding. Over the years, I’ve pitched a TV show about my mission to networks like OWN, BET, Discovery, and Bravo, in hopes of producing a positive show about Black women traveling to Italy and the world ”

So when Weaver heard about “To Rome for Love,” a new Bravo series debuting Jan. 7 where “wedding planner Diann Valentine takes five gorgeous American women who have struggled with romance in the United States on a journey to Italy in search of true love,” it sounded awfully similar to a TV show treatment and “sizzle reel” she shared with the cable entertainment network back in 2011 (click image below to view or click here).

After meeting with Bravo about creating a show based on empowering Black women by travelling to Italy, Weaver ended up walking away from the table.

“I needed post-production input and some type of control over my final product,” says Weaver about her discussions with the network known for shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “At the end of the day, it all comes down to editing. I didn’t want to take the risk of creating another negative show about African-American women. I wanted a show that was not so much about bringing black women to Italy find mates, even though women have met their now-husbands on our tours. For me, our tours have always been more about finding love of self. It is at the heart of every tour.”

A message captured in her “CinderBella” video (below).

Weaver has seen the “To Rome for Love” preview. “This can turn out to be something very negative,” she says, fearing stereotypes about desperate Black women in search of the so-called might come into play. When filming a show like this, says the Rome-based travel guru, “One really should be sensitive to the Italian people and culture. I find using stereotypical phrases like “Italian stallion” very degrading.

A cultural ambassador, Weaver—already knew Rome well thanks to constant back-and-forth planning trips for her Italy tours. For the past five years, she has divided her time between Rome and Los Angeles to further develop professional relationships and enhance her already-strong credentials as an expert on Italian travel market and culture. This on-the-ground presence allows her to not only enrich her current Italian tours but to strategically expand the club’s offerings.

“My life in Italy positions me to be an even greater resource and expert on Italian travel for African-Americans”.

Other similarities behind “To Rome for Love” and Weaver’s 11-year-old enterprise exist. A portion of the tagline “Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated” even makes its way into the Bravo show’s preview.

“I want my life back,” says Weaver. “I just want the show to give credit to the proper place. Because many people have emailed me, thinking that I am somehow involved with the show, there is a real concern that any negativity on the show will lead people to think those things happen on our tours. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m flattered out.”

When asked why she isn’t pursuing legal action against Bravo, Weaver says:

“I’m really blessed to live a good life right now; I’m beyond fighting people. I wish the Black women involved with this project nothing but the best. From my perspective, to sue and win would still mean I am profiting off a negative image of African-American women. Profiling from the front or back door is totally against my values and life goals”.

Still, she wants to just put the facts out there, and let people decide on their own about any resemblances after viewing “To Rome for Love” and the sizzle reel she shared with Bravo.

“What is for me will be for me,” says Weaver. “Someone will want to do a positive show about us. When that happens, we will be ready.” Until then, she’s seeking the support of those that believe in her cause, asking them to spread the word about and use the tag on any social media conversations about “To Rome for Love.”

Through experiences, Weaver has helped inspire a legion of Black women to love themselves through international travel. Many have found the courage to move overseas, including to Italy, in search of a better life. “This is what BlackGirlTravel is about,” says Weaver. “It has never been just about travel for me.”

Weaver created “A Black Girl in Italy,” a private and popular Facebook blog offering a for-women-only glimpse into her life and romantic adventures in Rome. In addition to the famed Bella Italia tour, also will offer a wide range of 2018 excursions and tours in Italy and far beyond, including:

· Some Like It Hot, A Roman Holiday (January, March, April and July), Concierge and Shopping Tours featuring eight days in Rome and two in Barcelona.

· Divas & Daughters in Italy (various dates), for women travelling with girls 6 to 16.

· Bella BootCamp (March), an exercise in “cultural fitness” that combines the whirlwind pace of Bella Italia and a structured weight-loss program.

· Rome for the Holidays (December)

· Egypt (February), with a focus on the country’s Nubian roots.

· April in Paris (April), a small-group Concierge tour in the City of Light.

· French and Italian Riviera (May), which also includes stops in Pisa and Milan.

· OPA! Greece (May), a 10-day tour to this Mediterranean nation.

· Eat.Love.Play (June), a magical tour of the island of Bali.

· Dubai (September), a return visit to the United Arab Emirates.

· South Africa: Girls Gone Wild (December), the 6th annual BlackGirlTravel tour.

Additional Italy tours will be offered in 2018, including one focused on intercultural/international dating skills plus a training/assistance program for those seriously thinking about moving to Italy. Also in 2018, Weaver plans to launch the first full-service African-American-owned travel agency in Italy, which will offer a full range of travel planning, including weddings, honeymoons, and family travel for all types of travellers. The agency also will offer real estate consulting services for retirement property in Italy. She is seeking travel agents and suppliers that would like to be part of the magic.


Fleacé Weaver is an upscale travel club for fun-loving travellers, created by and for extraordinary Black women. Its goal is simple: to expose Black women to the beauty of the world and the world to the beauty of Black women. creates unique, customized tours and meeting programs for groups and individuals. These global excursions are designed for young-at-heart, well-heeled urbanites interested in exploring new lands while indulging in international cuisine, “retail therapy,” and exciting nightlife. Everyone from seasoned globe-trotting travellers to international travel neophytes seeking the security of a group will feel at home on the road with, whose website is a one-stop resource for travel-related information targeted to Black women. These are NOT your grandmother’s tours!

Today – Request your absentee ballot

Vote From Abroad

Request your ballot today and start the year off well as we head towards winning back the Senate and House.

Remember – Americans abroad CAN vote in midterm elections. US Senate and Representative elections are Federal elections that every American abroad voter is entitled to vote in.

Americans abroad CAN make a difference in these midterms. Every vote counts and even a few votes can swing an election (or a state legislature!) from red to blue.

Vote From Abroad
Finally, please remember that Americans abroad need to request our ballots every year we’d like to vote. Even those of us who requested a ballot in December 2017 must request their ballot again for this calendar year. That way, our ballots will be counted in every 2018 election.

Happy New Year to you from Democrats Abroad! I’m looking forward to helping turn 2018 into a year we can all be proud of. I very much appreciate your help making it happen.

Any questions, just let us know. We love to answer voter registration questions.

All the best,
Julia Bryan
Chair, Democrats Abroad

2017 Power List

Joy Mbatha-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Joy Mbatha

Joy Mbatha

Joy Nirak Fikile M’Batha, best known by her artist name Joy was born in Malmö. She is a Swedish rapper and artist, raised in Stehag and Malmö and now living in Stockholm.

Joy got her big break in the autumn of 2014 with Where your wind comes and later the single Cat Life, produced by Mats Norman from Mash Up International.  Joy appeared on Linda Piras Knap’s My Fingers, including Rosh, Cleo, and others. M’Batha also participated in Timbuktu’s remix album For Life To Death – Remixes on the track Jump along with Lilla Namo, Dida, JaQe and Promoe.

Together with Frej Larsson, she has made the song “My team” the official Swedish song at the European Championships in football in 2016.

She toured in the Nordic region in the summer of 2015 together with the music group Maskinen. The Machine and M’Batha met in 2014 in the First Season of the Web TV Series Next Level, where new rappers pair with more established artists and producers. They performed at the Bråvalla Festival and the Malmö Festival.

In 2016 she was nominated for Newcomer of the Year in P3 Gold. In 2017, she traveled around Bohuslän as one of the main characters in SVT’s Ebbot’s Ark together with Ebbot Lundberg, Annika Norlin, and Lasse Holm.

2017 Power List

Dr. Erma Manoncourt France-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Dr. Erma Manoncourt

Dr. Erma Manoncourt

Dr. Erma Manoncourt is a public health specialist in behavior and social change and the Founder and President of M&D Consulting Inc (Paris, France).

A retired UN official, she has worked over 30 years in international development, providing technical assistance in management/leadership, strategic planning, training and facilitation skills, communication for development, and research, monitoring, and evaluation. Erma has extensive work experience in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

2017 Power List

Dr. Tokie Laotan-Brown-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Dr. Tokie Laotan-Brown

Dr. Tokie Laotan-Brown

She is an indigenous Architectural Technologist, this means she works and researches indigenous architectural sites, redevelops them and helps with economical status of these sites by nominating them for world heritage funds.

She also is a member of icomos-Ifla representing Nigeria on International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes

She is the co founder and director of Tea group ltd.  She runs women Fund Homes uk and Ireland.  She runs merging Ecologies with Tinu Hassan.  She is the co founder and CFO of Syntec Group Europe/ wines.  She is part of one of the biggest black movement and as their treasurer.

Born in Wurzburg, Germany to Nigerian parents, Tokie Laotan-Brown is currently undertaking a joint Phd Program in Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage at the University of Nova Gorica and Universita Iuav di Venezia, Italy.

The Author of the books, “Recession Buster:10 Steps to Managing Your Household Budget“, The Spanish Version and ” Recession Buster: Household Budget Workbook“. Tokie also works as an Environmental Architectural Technologist and Cultual Economist.

Tokie is an associate member of International Network of Traditional Building Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU), the Black Designers Showcase in America (BIDS), Construction Industry of Builders (CIOB) in Ireland, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologist (CIAT) UK and UK-Green Building Council. An RSA Fellow and Architectural Technologists` Register, Ireland.

In June 2004, Tokie was an independent candidate for the local elections in Galway.

Tokie was a Mayoral Awards nominee in 2005 and An Image Awards Nominee in 2007.
Tokie’s portrait was commissioned along with 11 other women for a Calendar as one of the most influential women in Galway in 2006. This was done for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre.

She has also worked on various housing projects within the Galway city council as a housing spatial policy committee member from 2004 to 2007.

2017 Power List

Fatoumata Kebe-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Fatoumata Kebe

Fatoumata Kebe

THIS IS Fatoumata Kebe, a final-year astronomy student on a mission to clean up space.

The 29-year-old, who works on space debris, is just months away from collecting her PhD from at Observatoire de Paris and Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

Space debris is the traces of human activity in space, all the things left there.

“Bits of rockets, for instance,” she told “My work focuses particularly on what happens when these objects collide and explode. For example, I try to determine how many pieces of debris an object will split into.”

Fatoumata decided this was the subject for her after completing a programme at NASA.

“Over there, I took a space environment course on the subject with an engineer from the European Space Agency. I liked it because, at the time, I was torn between space and the environment, and here was a subject that dealt with the environment in space.”

There are currently two million pieces of debris orbiting the Earth, so, according to Fatoumata, a need for her expertise will be around for the foreseeable.

“We leave traces everywhere we go: there is plenty of work to do.”

She adds: “A 5 cm piece of debris in space has about as much energy as a bus. And it can have very serious consequences.

“The space around the Earth is too cluttered. We can’t send up any more rockets or satellites without risking them being destroyed by debris.”

Working in astronomy was a “childhood dream” for Fatoumata. She found pictures of stars and planets “fascinating”, but didn’t know how to get into the profession.

“After focusing on science subjects at school, I went off to university. I did a Master’s in fluid mechanics, but as that wasn’t sufficiently space-oriented, I did courses at the European Space Agency, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), etc. I then went off to Japan for a year to learn about space engineering and building nanosatellites.”

She is currently writing her Ph.D. thesis and hopes to officially become an astronomer.

On perceptions of astronomy being a male-only profession, she says: “I think the problem is a wider one. There is a problem with women in the sciences, from high school onwards. Once you get to university, the numbers of women dwindle over time. There are very few of us left by the time you get to post-doctoral level.”

“A lot of girls around me have said things like, ‘Fatou, I want a family life’. Girls lack self-belief in this field.”

She admits people have tried to discourage her, but she is defiant and admits, “I’m against positive discrimination, so it’s quite difficult.”