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Ezinne KWUBIRI is a black woman, diversity leader, innovator, and ally. She is an Alumni of Howard University’s School of Business where she majored in Accounting and Business strategy. She started her career in Diversity and Inclusion at Viacom Media; Kwubiri earned a newly created position as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for H&M North America.

ezinne

1. Please tell us about your Nigerian roots.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, my roots are from Umuahia in Abia State (Nigeria) part of the Igbo tribe. My new Nigerian legacy will be from Imo State, where my husband is from.

 

2. Tell us about your profession and how you got into your line of work?

My career has transitioned over the years. I began my career as a consultant (auditing roles) at a (then) Big 4 accounting firm. I soon transitioned to the entertainment/ media industry in another auditing role. During my time there, I started my career in people management – specifically Change Management & Diversity & Inclusion. Now I lead D&I at one of the largest fashion retail companies in the world.

 

3. What is the most challenging part of your job ?

Every role has its challenges & successes. The size & global footprint of my current role creates various nuances on how you communicate, create, & resonate with various persons.

 

4. Tell us about your vision for H&M’s diversity and inclusion initiatives?

My vision as the Head of Inclusion & Diversity is to provide an intentional space that promotes, embraces and highlights the diversity of people & thought, where people feel they have equal opportunity to be seen and heard, where customers feel they can see themselves represented in our campaigns; attracting and retaining top diverse professionals.

 

5. What is the most common mistake in an organization’s thinking about diversity?

Companies should recognize that fostering a workplace of diversity requires intentional actions. It is not an overnight process. You have to be honest with where you are, what the people want, & how you will get there. It’s a true commitment that requires full buy-in from key decision-makers.

 

6. Your appointment means a lot to people of color, especially women of color. Any top tips for women trying to get into your line of work who wants to use her voice to change the narrative ?

Regardless of your title, line of work, or level of experience, you can use your voice to change the narrative. The way you show up in those spaces is how you begin that change. Always speak up, initiate, challenge, & provide solutions to areas that you see have gaps. It doesn’t always have to be a formal process.

#BlackArtistToWatch: Meet Nneka Jones From Trinidad and Tobago

7. As more women of color enter and thrive in the workforce, how will that impact the future of diversity and inclusion ?

Women of color, really all women, have been forces in the workforce for decades. Now their voices are louder & stronger. We are starting to be seen for what we’ve always been: leaders, resilient, empathic & visionaries. The future is keeping that integrity & strength and demanding equal pay & rights from our male counterparts.

ezinne

 

8. H&M recently announced its first-ever collaboration with a South African Designer. Should we expect more collaboration with African brands in the nearest future?

We hope to continue to provide collaborations that will resonate with our customers & align with the brand’s aesthetics. I am excited about the future potential collaborations.

9. Do you have a philosophy that you apply to your personal life and your career?
What are your career commandments?

Staying true to who I am and living in purpose & integrity. Own your true & use your voice.

 

10. What do you see as the greatest Leadership Strength?

The ability to motivate others & make everyone feel heard & important. If your team is not rallying behind you, it’ll be challenging for you to lead them.

 

11. For those who work in the diversity and inclusion space, are there any tips you would recommend?

Be kind to yourself. Change is not going to happen overnight – it might take months or even years for you to see any progress. Be true to yourself & the work. Be sure there is a budget & resources to support your efforts. You cannot, and should not do this alone.

 

12. To what extent do you believe there are significant differences in how one should work with diverse cultures within the US/US minorities and diverse cultures from other nations? Are different strategies appropriate, and if so, what are they?

Even within the same continent, your strategy for diversity & inclusion should not the same. Everyone works, hears, & listens differently. We have to understand the complexities of the audience, the current culture, what you are trying to achieve. There is no “one size fits all”.
Also, understanding as much as we are different, there are still similarities, things that unite us as humans. Find that connector & go from there.

 

13. How does it feel being an African representing in the West at a time like this where the world is becoming more and more aware of the African continent and its POWER?

Africa to the WORLD! I am proud to be Nigerian. There is so much beauty & talent on the continent and it’s exciting to see the world recognizing that. There are many Africans that are the “first black” in their fields, that are trailblazers & representing well. I remember growing up, being from somewhere else was not the “cool” thing. Now our styles, foods, names, music, etc. are influencing the nations.

We’ve been here & been great… I’ll tell the rest of the world…WELCOME !

Do you know the Ankh’s power?

 

Ankh is one of the most common and important symbols of Ancient Egypt.

It represents life in the language of Ancient Kemet (Land of Blackface) and portrays both the mortal life and the afterlife. It also took an important place in many pharaoh’s reigns from representing faith, royalty during Amun’s and Sun during Akhenaton. Furthermore, it was believed that deities gave them Ankh to represent their power to sustain life and revive human souls in the afterlife.
The symbol was always associated with air, water (which was believed to regenerate life) and Gods because every of their representation was associated with an Ankh in their hands or as ornaments.

This powerful and spiritual device got many conflicting descriptions and has many interpretations.

1- Duality

It represents female energy with its crown and male energy with its shaft.

2- Divine female energy

It also for others, visually looks like the reproductive organs of a woman and validates its meaning of life, with the crown that represents the wombs to the fallopian tubes; to the shaft being the birth canal.

Black Women and Sacrifice

3- Symbol of technology and electricity

Many historians believe that electricity isn’t a nowadays discovery, Egyptians may have already used electricity years from now and the Ankh might have been in some way able to conduct electricity. Isn’t it crazy?

4- Portal of eternal life

For others, its circle depicts the sun God Ra and it represents the portal to many dimensions to eternal life.

5- Tuning fork

The Ankh is perceived as a tuning fork that can create a frequency or produce a sound that has healing or meditation attributes. It can also allow to connect ourselves with higher consciousness and raise knowledge in our minds.

6- One of the funniest theory is that it was used to open ancient beer bottles.

Where do they find this kind of inspiration?

Nowadays

Sometimes represented in gold or blue, its representation matured with time. It is also very popular in Western culture and by people of African descent in the United State to claim their cultural identity.

This symbol crossed centuries to remind us that we come from Kings and Queens, we come from Great Gods and fierceness, we come from knowledge, technology, and pride.

Being a historic symbol and spreading a spiritual message, some were calling it genuinely « The religion of Life », mother of all religious beliefs with a purpose to celebrate life and respect every form of life, whether its flora and fauna. It is a divine sign that didn’t lose its actual force but became more of a symbol for black identity, spiritual appurtenance, meant to express freedom and ownership of our own path.

Some purists are mad that its now sacred aspect isn’t respected, that anybody can get access to it, now it is «normal» or not «avant-garde» to wear one, even as a tattoo of an Ankh. Moreover, they want you to introduce it to your journey and how you see the world, what it teaches about life and afterlife, really embrace the sacred power of the sacred Ankh, also a form of getting back to our roots, to our ancestors. As some use it to sleep at night and hide it under their pillow for good energy and favorize sweet dreams about being lost in the middle of the ocean, the energy Ankh generates is infallible, powerful and needed for more generations to benefit.

Ankh is still a powerful tool, even if its actual purpose was maybe lost in hecatombs years ago. Indeed, people are still working on collecting pieces of information to bring its powers back. Nowadays, its energy is most of the time used in necklaces, ring, even inspiring artists through paintings and sculptures.

erikah badu
Erykah Badu (Soul/Jazz/Rnb singer), gracing her Ankh ring.

At the end of the day shouldn’t we celebrate life, as the Ankh does? Live and enjoy every day fully, embody every wrong, every right, drive the ancient energy of the Ankh to nourish your purpose, your strength!

Have you ever wore one? Tell us how does it feel and what do you want to express with your ankh.

Written by Yao Boni.

Would you dare swim in natural pool overlooking the edge of one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls? Our team did and lived to tell the story, and it was one of the most surreal, thrilling, exhilarating, and terrifying experiences we have ever had. We can guarantee swimming in the devils pool will be one of the most exhilarating experiences you have ever done.

In this post We’ll put your mind at ease and by the end you’ll be ready to take a leap of faith and explore the Devils pool.

Jamaica and Africa share deep cultural ties that survived the slave trade. There are some cultural morals that are passed down that have direct ties to Africa. Enslaved Africans kept their heritage alive by way of dance, food, and spirituality.

There are too many notable Jamaicans of African descent to name. Here is a small sample: George William Gordon, National Hero, George Steibel, the island’s first black millionaire who built Devon House, Sir Alexander Bustamante, the island’s first Prime Minister, Norman Manley, the island’s first premier, Marcus Garvey, black nationalist and National Hero and more contemporarily, Merlene Ottey, Jamaican track and field star, T. P. Lecky, creator of the Jamaica Red Breed of cattle, Cecil Baugh, world-renowned potter, Bob Marley, worldwide musical superstar and the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, cultural icon.

After Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo announced how 2019 would serve as the “Year of Return,” there has been a plethora of activities to commemorate the 400 year anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The Ghana Tourism Authority reports having had 750,000 foreign visitors in 2019 despite expecting 500,000 in the year. With a few weeks left to the end of the year Ghana’s tourism authority expects the numbers to rise to 1 million foreign visitors.

Wizkid surprised us last night with the release of a 7 tracks EP, without promotions, without announcement, he made us an epic “Beyoncé’s way“.

Starboy EntertainmentWizkid‘s premiers  “SoundMan vol 1“, a solid EP with contributions from Chronixx, Blaq Jerzee, London and Kel P.

We let ourselves be easily rocked and carried away by the sound of the trumpets, all the sound of this long musical journey. We are in the presence of a Wizkid who proposes us well-constructed lyrics, knowing that we reproached him for being a little lazy lately with his level of songwriting.

Africa is such a dynamic and fascinating continent. It’s an incredible place to soak in history and learn about the past. One especially fascinating and visually stunning period here is the turn of the twentieth century.

Tucked away out on the east coast of Africa lies one of the most unique accommodations one could ever experience. Nairobi, Kenya is home to the world renowned Giraffe Manor.  Incredibly preserved and sitting on top of 140 acres of land, this place is like stepping into a dream.

This week we pick the sweetest afrobeats releases you could listen to have a beautiful week.

We will start with Davido who released his second album, “A Good Time“, an album of 17 tracks, where you can find Summer walker, Popcaan, Perruzi, Yonda, Gunna, Zlatan & Naira Marley. A project long prepared, well-executed, with incredible production, he delivered quality and quantity. Producing at the finest with dopest beatmakers as Speroach, London on the track, Kiddominant, Shizzi