2020 has been an unbelievable year in more ways than one. Amidst the stress of adapting to a new normal, we’ve seen global displays of support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. Many businesses and outlets have pledged to do more to amplify black voices and offer support to those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds when needed. With this month coming being Black History Month, it’s a great time to celebrate the successes of black people, especially women, in business.
With everything going on in the world right now, this is the right time and the right platform for me to offer my thoughts on what it means to be a black woman in business. Firstly, I salute any and all black women in business, whether you may be struggling or succeeding. I salute your well-deserved wins, may the fact that everything you’ve achieved has been on your merit be a source of pride.
Entrepreneurship requires excellent effort and perseverance no matter your colour. I know that all of the black women I know who have succeeded in their industries have been unbelievably tenacious, positive and determined. Many of us have faced prejudices at times and not allowed these experiences to sway us from our purpose and goal.
It would be ridiculous and unhelpful to ignore that racism is real and has affected all of us at one time or another, particularly in the professional world. I would encourage you to continue to make yourself comfortable in uncomfortable places if the result will further you. Block out the negativity and focus on you. Pursue your goals relentlessly.
To young black women
To young black women and those at the start of their careers, I would encourage you not to be moved by challenges you might face. You are entirely and wonderfully made and as deserving of success in business as anyone else on the planet. The world is your oyster, and your life is yours to design. Do not give anyone the power to stop you from achieving your dreams, have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Madam C.J. Walker
An enormous source of inspiration to me has always been Madam C. J. Walker. To me, she represents the beautiful success that can result from persistent hard work, even under challenging circumstances. Madam was born in 1867 in Louisiana in the United States. She was the first person of her family not to be born a slave. Moreover, Madam C. J. Walker was a poor washerwoman who was then widowed at just twenty years old. She had the idea to create hair products catering for African Americans, in a market with very little to offer. She created a hair system, employed black women as sales agents and used advertising to her advantage. Madam C. J. Walker made history as the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. An astounding legacy left to us by an incredible woman.
To the woman reading this, I may not know you. I may never meet you, but I salute the ambition and fire inside of you. I pray that you never give up until you’ve achieved your goals.
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