I am British and I am Nigerian – there is a complex duality of identity there which though quite simple to me is often under interrogation. In fact perhaps I have simplified for the purposes of ease of communication because upon reflection identity is multi-layered and cannot even be defined but in this instance I have focused on its duality. Whilst I am secure in who I am I do enjoy discussing this duality and so I was excited to be invited onto The Global Chatter podcast hosted by Amanda Bates, founder of The Black Expat platform. The Global Chatter podcast is a vibrant ongoing conversation which brings together Black and Brown people from across the world and focuses on international mobility, identity, race, career and more. It was a great opportunity for me to discuss so many of the issues that I am passionate about include race, ethnicity and class nuances that are sometimes lacking in British discourse. Amanda is a great host who made space for an honest and authentic conversation and we shared our experiences of being first generation women within the African diaspora.
We spoke about the cost of assimilation for the working class, the reinforcement of classism and elitism and the impact of upward mobility:
“I know my generation, and subsequent generations wanted to assimilate because it was safety. And I understand that. Because of the way racism operates in this world, it makes you think you have to do your best to camouflage…blend in and almost be a chameleon.
We know now, it doesn’t work. And I’ve never tried to do that. Because I don’t think it’s worth the mental gymnastics.
I’m not interested in assimilation. I was born here. I have nothing to prove. ”
Assimilation in and of itself although a survival mechanism leads to an erasure of identity and a collective silencing which can rob us of who we really are. It was refreshing to be able to discuss this especially when we look at how we document our stories and legacies within our diasporan communities. I highlighted how important it is to recognise and embrace the duality of identity (being both British and Nigerian).
We also touched on why corporate brands often fail at messaging around social justice as well my experience studying abroad in the U.S at The University of Richmond, VA. Tune into my episode on spotify (or other podcast apps) and share your thoughts.
I had the pleasure of recording this special episode for ANTHEMS Black, a podcast series produced and commissioned by my clientBroccoli Content. ANTHEMS Black is a daily podcast series amplifying Black voices from across The UK. Each episode focuses on a word chosen by the contributor and my word is enjoyment. Enjoyment is important, it’s a part of my self-care and self-soothing that eases the pressure and stress of daily life, particularly as a Black woman in business. I hope my episode uplifts and inspires women to find moments of enjoyment wherever they are.
“My enjoyment is radical. It is to declare the very essence of my freedom in a world that does not want to see a Black woman be free to feel pure, unadulterated joy without the burden of struggle.”
Following on from the success of ANTHEMS Women and ANTHEMS Pride; ANTHEMS Black is a collection of 31 original manifestos, speeches, stories, poems and rallying cries written and read by vibrant, unique and exceptional UK Black voices. Each bite size episode begins with a “word of the day” introduced by each of the individuals that encapsulates the theme of their piece, leaving the listeners with something to carry forward into the day after they’ve heard the work. Each episode is released every other day from the 1st of September and throughout UK Black History Month in October; the series will underpin the rich and diverse cultural and social impact that Black communities have made in the UK. ANTHEMS was created by Broccoli Content as both a celebration and call to arms – an album of stirring pieces and words that embody rage, power, joy, beauty, love, loss and everything in between. Words that inspire not only courage and comfort but also action in a world that sometimes relies on the inaction of the many to uphold the power of the few.
I was recently invited onto What Now?, a vibrant podcast series from Dialect which brings together dynamic thought leaders from around the world to try to figure out the new marketing landscape in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic. Every week, David Maher Roberts hosts one-on-one chats with marketers, communications professionals, product managers and entrepreneurs to explore the trends, opportunities and challenges of this new era and share their opinions, thoughts and insights. What I particularly enjoyed about this podcast was the opportunity to share thoughts on our current climate with regards to the pandemic and the resurgence of energy around the Black Lives Matter movement. We discussed the era of the conscious consumer and how this current era means that the attentions and actions of consumers are focused on the way in which brands behave and communicate.
I was also passionate about the need to move away from this idea of a “new normal”. I personally don’t want the world to return to normal and don’t think that consumers as a whole want things to go back to “normal” – they are becoming more aware of the vast inequalities that exist in the world. The world’s structures and systems are not fitforpurposefor the betterment of humanity and so if it goes back to “normal” after everything we have gone through then we have let ourselves down. We ended on a note that what we need is a “better normal” for us all. At the end of the episode I make my recommendations for something to watch and share my personal mantra (which changes regularly by the way but is all rooted in purpose and truth). The video version of this podcast is available on the dialect Vimeo channel.
I was recently invited onto The Destiny Creators podcast which is hosted by Annie A Gibbs and I took a deep dive into my experience of starting my business in my early twenties and how I grew, adapted and learnt from my experiences as a young entrepreneur. We discussed life lessons and the importance of mental health and well-being for entrepreneurs. According to a University of San Francisco study undertaken by Michael A Freeman at least half of all entrepreneurs suffer from a mental health condition throughout their lifetime. I realised through the course of my own business career that though we are surrounded by positive affirmations and motivational soundbites (which I know are important to encourage and uplift founders) we do not speak about the challenges that we face enough, beyond overcoming financial challenges. I am really passionate about the importance of truth telling through our journeys as entrepreneurs and business owners and so in this conversation we spoke about coping mechanisms and the importance of self-care. I also spoke to my younger self:
Destiny Creators podcast series by Amour Destiné is a series which features open conversations with inspiring people, who are embracing their lives on various paths in life and doing what they love. Through sharing experiences and challenges, as well as thoughts on different topics ranging from business to entertainment, sex, religion, politics and all things about life as we know it the podcast aims to inspire listeners, to create their own destiny! I had a great time speaking to Annie and hopefully her listeners had a lot of takeaways from our conversation.