The Bahamas, with its idyllic beaches and crystal-clear waters, has long been a destination associated with relaxation and luxury. When you think of the Bahamas, names like Atlantis and Baha Mar often come to mind, along with images of lavish resorts and endless sunshine. However, there’s more to this tropical paradise than meets the eye. In recent years, a new ambassador for the Bahamas has emerged, and he’s not your typical sun-soaked tourist.
Enter Lenny Kravitz, the iconic rock star known for his distinctive style, leather pants, and influential music career. While he may not seem like the typical Bahamian, Lenny Kravitz is a true Bahamian at heart. His connection to the Bahamas runs deep, rooted in his family heritage and a profound love for the islands.
Kravitz proudly acknowledges his Bahamian roots, with his mother, the late actor Roxie Roker, being a first-generation Bahamian-American. During a recent visit to the United States, he announced his partnership with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, reaffirming his commitment to promoting the beauty and culture of the Bahamas.
In a candid interview with Travel + Leisure, Kravitz shared insights into his deep-seated connection with the Bahamas and his profound love for the archipelago. For him, the Bahamas has been a part of his soul and life since childhood. He vividly recalls the sensory experiences of landing in Nassau each summer with his mother, where the warm tropical air and the sound of a steel band welcomed him. These early memories left an indelible mark on him, nurturing his affection for the islands.
Kravitz’s bond with the Bahamas deepened over the years as he continued to visit the islands regularly. It was during a trip with his former wife, Lisa Bonet, that he first discovered the enchanting island of Eleuthera. This slender, 112-mile-long island, known for its serene beauty and local charm, captured his heart. His first visit left a lasting impression, as he described, “We pulled into Hatchet Bay at midnight. I didn’t know where I was. I woke up in the morning, and realized I had arrived home — and I never left.”
In contrast to the bustling resorts that the Bahamas is famous for, Kravitz found solace and simplicity on Eleuthera. He shared, “Where I am, there’s nothing, which is what’s beautiful about it. It’s more raw.” This isolation, characterized by pristine beaches and a tranquil atmosphere, becomes a catalyst for personal growth, a place where one can truly connect with themselves.
Kravitz’s passion for the family islands, as the Out Islands are locally known, is evident. He believes that visiting these islands provides a more authentic experience, allowing travelers to delve deeper into the culture and the real essence of the Bahamas. For him, it’s not about the glitz and glamour; it’s about the genuine warmth and hospitality of the people.
In the Bahamas, Kravitz is not just a celebrity; he’s a local. He appreciates the fact that Bahamians don’t care about one’s status or possessions; what matters is whether you’re “cool.” This authenticity and down-to-earth nature of the Bahamian people have left a lasting impact on Kravitz, who, despite his global fame, finds a sense of self in the Bahamas that is often elusive in the major cities of his youth.
One remarkable aspect of the Bahamas’ influence on Kravitz is its impact on his music. The islands have not only served as the backdrop for his recording studio but have also been a constant source of inspiration. He has recorded several albums in the Bahamas, and one of his hit songs, “Fly Away,” was written while driving his daughter to school along the beach in Nassau.
One unique Bahamian musical tradition that has captured Kravitz’s attention is junkanoo, a celebratory style rooted in the musical traditions of the islands. Junkanoo festivals and parades occur on Boxing Day and New Year’s, and Kravitz has embraced this culture as a significant influence on his work. To celebrate his partnership with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Kravitz released a special junkanoo version of “Fly Away.” He expressed his intention to dive deeper into the genre, planning to create a junkanoo album featuring original songs recorded with Bahamian musicians and junkanoo drummers.
Despite his busy schedule, which includes a world tour, work on a film, and various design projects, Kravitz can’t stay away from the Bahamas for long. He considers it a place where he can truly be himself and disconnect from the demands of his hectic life. For him, the Bahamas is more than a vacation spot; it’s a sanctuary where he can decompress and reconnect with his inner self. Upon returning to Eleuthera, he looks forward to doing something as simple as getting rid of his shoes, symbolizing a return to the serenity and simplicity that the Bahamas offers.
Lenny Kravitz has become more than just a music icon; he’s a cultural ambassador for the Bahamas. His love for the islands, their people, and their culture is evident in his words and actions. Through his music and his commitment to showcasing the authenticity of the Bahamas, Kravitz is helping the world see the beauty beyond the resorts and beaches. The Bahamas has found an unexpected, but incredibly passionate, ambassador in the leather-pants-wearing rock star who has made the islands his home away from home.