Boning Face 30K Feet Above All The Wahala
Ah, last week. It was a hell of a week. One of my current things is being part of a devastatingly magnificent team running a Pan-African product leadership Fellowship program for a select group of badass public sector leaders from across all corners of the continent, and man…this week in Lusaka was a beast. Not going into any details for now…but man this week in Lusaka was a beast.
And the Zambian people? Hmm…they carry serious ginger o. Cool, calm, and gingerific.
BTW, you do know I am a product guru, right? If I am not in your product orbit, then ask yourself, “How is that even possible?” It’s true.
But seriously. Holler at me.
As I head back home to ATL, I’ve been reflecting (that will hopefully lead to refr<action> of course), and I wanted to just drop some random thoughts.
Bone face. In Naija, when we say “he bone face”, it essentially means he frowned his face. But that’s a bit basic. There’s layers. It could mean he was stubborn, or that he was very set in his way or mindset; could mean he was not in agreement with whatever. It is also a mean way of actively ignoring a person or situation. This last one…I remembered a particular interaction at the Unstoppable Africa conference that Zain and I produced in 2022. The Hon Minister Paula Ingabire of Rwanda (one of Africa’s superstar public sector leaders) was about to go on deck with one of Africa’s top CEOs. They were chatting, and then I walked in and waved hi to the Minister who then called me over, asking abut how I was and gave kudos for the event. Another one of Africa’s gangster ICT Ministers, Hon Cena Lawson of Togo walked over and joined the conversation. I was humbled of course, but also aware that they needed to roll and go do their thing. On the other hand, Private Sector Oga CEO on Top…the dude boned face. As in, he needed air freshener bone face. His body language was so off as he looked away, clearly he was not interested in me being in his orbit. I said my hellos to the Ministers, and took my leave. And I will never ever forget how that bobo made me feel. Oh well. I may never cross paths with him again. Maybe I will. I also probably will never impact his path or business.
Or maybe I will. In fact, I wouldn’t mind, walai.
“I don’t hold grudges. But I do make choices. So I always err on the side of nice.” Jason Feiffer for the win.
Hey, so…we do know when Jill Scott says let’s take a long walk around the park after dark we are clear she’s not trying to find a spot to just spark conversation, verbal elation, stimulation, or education, right? I mean, she did mention temptation. We do know that, right? Ok. Let me come on and go with myself.
Brothers, if a woman hasn’t given you your flowers the way Jill Scott did it in that song, bruh…you’re on your own. I have nothing for you. Maybe moisturize more, that’s the best I can come up with right now.
Ever hear of The Serenity Prayer? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is on the Chidi’s lips at least four to five times a day. My guy John Cutler bookended with his own addendum, “...AND the curiosity to try to change things and see what happens.”
My addendum is, “…plus the boldness to ask for help finding that courage when I need it.”
What’s your addendum? Yes. Now now. What is it?
It takes a person two years to learn how to talk and all the rest of their life to learn to keep from talking too much. Na wa o. The person who came up with that gem should be given the Nobel Grammy Pulitzer Prize for identifying the reason everything is going to hell today.
Integrity and excellence is the carpenter who finishes even the back of his cabinets even though they would be forever hidden against the wall. Ooh, love that. Hardcore. And the carpenter in this case is Steve Jobs’ father. Cause and effect?
I was watching a piece on this superstar country music singer who used to be a rapper, and was in and out of jail for most of his teenage years and early twenties. As he reflected on his journey to blowing up, he said this: “There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror.”
Of course my overheated brain had to add that you go too fast without a seatbelt, you and that windshield shall be having a tough and intimate conversation if all that motion stops suddenly. Just saying.
Alice Braga’s character in the show, A Murder At The End of The World, shared this counsel with the main character–“Impact isn't about having something to say, It's about having the power to be listened to when you say it.” One hundred percent. And this is where many people are getting their asses handed to them. Just talking, and nothing. The question is, do you have the juice to be heard? I ask myself that all the time, and that’s why I shut the hell up when I am not sure the juice is there.
Are you juicing? Keep scrolling, meanwhile others are out there juicing with alacrity.
In closing–I sometimes hit pay dirt in my work, and in recent years one of the highlights was getting to meet and get quite cool with Danai Gurira, creative extraordinaire, #1 Odogwu of The Dora Milaje, and the ultimate Bone Facer. The woman is brilliant, and yes even more badass in real life. Funny as hell. She unleashed this gem in Kigali last year during ALN: “So, what is your hypothesis as a ‘mad scientist’? Figure out all the rules and then break them all. Take them to the lab and burn them all down, use your Bunsen burner to cook up new stuff, mix up new shit, come up with stuff that doesn’t work, that works, that is naysayed and doubted. Attack the formula!! Break barriers. Not scale them. Because scaling them means they are still there for the folks behind you.”
For the folks behind you. That’s why we are doing this, right?
Burn it all down. For real.
And then we get back to cooking, damn it!