We are living in the era of the Black woman, and it’s about damn time!
Throughout my nearly four decades of living, I’ve watched Black women perform magic. I watched my mother, a Ghanaian immigrant, do the unimaginable. According to her, she stood on her feet sewing jeans in a Levi’s factory until the day before I was born. Can you imagine that? There’s no question where I get my tenacity and perseverance. I watched my mother raise my siblings and me while she supported my father’s academic and entrepreneurial pursuits. Along the way, she also earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in social work, worked as a mental health therapist, and taught social work at the collegiate level. If you ask her, my mother will tell you she learned from her mother and grandmothers.
I observe my mother’s spirit in my two sisters who are magically blazing trails of their own as college professors. I watch my son’s mother lead in her corporate role and manage a growing real estate business while caring for our son. I watch my fiancee’ raise two boys while managing an academic career and community and entrepreneurial efforts. I see Black women (family, friends, associates) all around me doing amazing things, driving their families and communities forward in the face of often insurmountable odds. The strange thing is, this is nothing new. Black women have been performing this kind of magic since the beginning of time.
Black women are built from something different. There’s no other explanation for what I’ve seen Black women do. Their power and strength is unmatched. Their ability to take very little and multiply it is something beyond the scope of reason. The Black community has always understood the magic of Black women, but it seems that society as a whole is just now catching one. On a daily basis, I read stories of Black women breaking the proverbial glass ceiling and ascending into higher roles. I couldn’t be happier, although I believe it is long overdue. However, we need to go a step further.
While it is great to see Black women given the opportunity to serve in executive-level roles across public, private, academic, and nonprofit institutions, I would like to see more Black women given the top job. I think we have enough Black women serving as Chief Diversity Officer, etc. How do we get more Black women in the U.S. Senate, because there have only been 2 in the history of our nation? How do we get more Black women to lead colleges and universities, or to serve as Chief Executive Officer in the business world? Did you know that on the Fortune 500 list of CEOs, there are 36 women, 4 Black men, but zero Black women?
We are living in the era of the Black woman, and it’s about damn time! But we need to do more to empower Black women. And by we, I’m specifically addressing Black men. We’ve benefitted from the magic of Black women all our lives. They’ve raised us, nurtured us, and helped us elevate. Brothers, now it’s our turn to stand side by side with our sisters and help them get everything they deserve. In the end, our communities win.
Isaac Addae is a first-generation Ghanaian American, entrepreneur, business professor, and change agent dedicated to shifting the trajectory of individuals, communities & organizations. He is dedicated to applying his life and career insights to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals through fostering purpose-driven cultures that embrace diversity, inclusion, and entrepreneurial thinking.