Larry Wilmore believes black power can be claimed by using the ‘N’ word. Beyonce believes she’s claiming her power by parading around naked and becoming as crass as the boys are. But I just experienced a much more inspiring version of black power. I’ve been to a few Black Enterprise events before but as an entrepreneur, this one moved me.
The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs’ Summit was a multi-day instructional on turning your ‘thing’ into a business the way we all imagine only white people do. As expected, they brought out an impressive lineup of inspirational characters, including black heads of billion dollar companies who had built these companies from scratch.
Funnily, one of the first things that caught my attention was the number of women who wore their hair naturally, proud of their stylish, nappy curls. Both women and men were well dressed. Some of the men wore sneakers or baseball caps with their suits, just to assuage any doubts that they were still hood.
Opportunities were presented that many of us may never have ever thought to seek out. There were black angels, black venture capitalists and black CEOS. There were 25 year old black kids who had, through pitching at competitions, raised over half a million dollars to build their second or third tech companies. There were folks telling black people how we could shift focus from the criminal side of the marijuana trade to the profitably legal side of it. There were women telling black women how, as one of the fastest growing sectors of entrepreneur, they could find the support they needed. The advice given by these panelists changed lives and opened eyes.
The thread of consistency that I got from all the high powered people in the rooms is that they’ve done what they’ve done because they simply realized that they could. I still think most of us have yet to acknowledge our true potential. The realization that we can tackle the exceptional goals we’re too often afraid to even imagine and the successful execution of those goals – in my opinion that is what black power looks like.
Calibe Thompson is a television producer and personality, public speaker and author. Watch her Mon at 10:00PM and Tues, Thurs and Sat at 9:00PM on South Florida’s BECON-TV (Ch 63 / Comcast 19), and follow www.facebook.com/misscalibe.