Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bumping into Jay Z in Nigeria


Dr. Boyce Watkins
I just returned from an awesome speaking event in Lagos, Nigeria. Pastor Poju Oyemade, a visionary leader in the Nigerian community, created a semi-annual event called “The Platform”, which is one of the most respected economic empowerment venues in the country. The Pastor invited me and some other business leaders to discuss the entrepreneurial spirit and how it can be best used to unleash the awesome potential of the Nigerian economy.

The event organizers met us with Barack Obama-like security, complete with serious looking brothers with dark suits and even darker sunglasses. I felt completely safe in a country that has been falsely presented to the world as a haven of danger. Nigeria is not nearly as scary as the media depicts it: like any other nation, there is both good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad has gotten more attention than it deserves.

I arrived in my hotel, a swank and comfortable spot right on the beach, ready to sleep off the jet lag. I was ready to take a nap in the hallway if necessary, since I was as tired as you can get. I crawled toward my bed with my last ounce of energy, shocked at who would be greeting me in my room: It was Jay-Z.

Well, it wasn’t the real Jay-Z, just his face on the cover of a magazine. Here I thought I’d escaped the Jiggaman by heading across the world, and there he was, diamonds blinding me with his undeniable floss. The megastar “bling-aholic” was being featured in a Nigerian magazine promoting the very same thing I was there to discuss: the power of entrepreneurship.
I respect Pastor Oyemade, the organizer of the event, for the same reasons I respect Jay-Z: they have both learned that Black men and women are strongest when we are economically free. I am not always in favor of everything that the Jiggaman does, but I certainly appreciate the progress he has shown throughout his career. He makes megadeals behind the scenes that will ensure that he is getting paid well into old age. When I addressed my audience in Nigeria, I talked to them about a few things:

1) The value of ownership – it’s difficult to get wealthy in America if you don’t own anything. I know a lot of doctors, lawyers and professors with high incomes who still have not yet learned how to let their money work for them.
2) Entrepreneurship should be taught to our children – every Black child in the world should be taught how to create a job, not just how to go out and get one.
3) Start your business around your passion – if you love what you are doing every day, you will get a paycheck even when you don’t make any money.
I didn’t just go to Nigeria to teach, I also went there to learn. I learned a long time ago that you can never be a good teacher if you are not also a good student. So, here are some things I learned from our Nigerian brothers and sisters across the sea:
1) We are really blessed as Americans. While we might feel that we don’t have as much as we deserve, we’ve actually got quite a bit to work with.
2) You can overcome a great deal if you put your mind to it. There are people in other parts of the world who endure things on a daily basis that we can’t possibly imagine.
3) The best investment opportunities are now in Africa. A smart investor with solid, honest contacts can make more money in Nigeria than they could almost anywhere else. Africa is the next China.
I enjoyed my trip to Nigeria, but I was as much student as professor. I learned from Jay-Z and his success in hip hop, and I also learned from my Nigerian family. All in all, I can say that this trip helped complete me as an investor, a professor, a Black man and a human being. I look forward to my next trip already.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tsk Tsk Dr. B,

"1) We are really blessed as Americans. While we might feel that we don’t have as much as we deserve, we’ve actually got quite a bit to work with."

-- Aren't you doing the same thing you just warned against--typecasting Nigerians as poor, insolvent, diffident people with nothing "to work with." Take this from someone who knows quite a bit about Nigeria: "Diversify your understanding, Brother!"

3) The best investment opportunities are now in Africa. A smart investor with solid, honest contacts can make more money in Nigeria than they could almost anywhere else. Africa is the next China.

-- Is that all a Super-Capitalist or "Hardcore-Capitalist" can think of???? Ways to abuse and exploit Africa more than it's already been?!! C'mon Doctor. I expect more (foolish me) and, yet, I get so much less.

This article is a sham and a shame...

El Haij Shalik Wanum said...

My brother Dr. Boyce, while writing some good articles, is still addicted to capitalism. The same capitalism that was built off of the backs of the original people.

Anonymous said...

Stupid comments. He is not saying that all nigerians are poor. But i am from Nigeria, and I can tell you that the poverty there is much greater than in the US.

Also, there is nothing wrong with being a capitalist. Every socialist economy in the world has fallen to pieces.

El Haij Shalik Wanum said...

Spoken like a lap dog for the grafted snake.

Big Earl said...

You sound like a lap dog for socialist economies that leave people in poverty.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see Girl Earl is back to work--jockin' Dr. B.

Whether Nigerians are poorer than Americans is of little interest, in this context. In fact, when you read--I mean STUDY--about the history of Nigeria, and the ongoing exploitation, courtesy of capitalist corporations like Chevron and Dutch/Shell, you wouldn't be so quick to defend Capitalism, or the premise that Nigerians naturally don't have "quite a bit to work with."

You would start seeing things in their proper perspective, rather than contributing to Africa's destruction by promulgating incriminating concepts like: "The best investment opportunities are now in Africa. A smart investor with solid, honest contacts can make more money in Nigeria than they could almost anywhere else. Africa is the next China."

Big Earl said...

Way to go HAM. Keep hatin. Dr Boyce needs you I'm sure.

Elrancho78 said...

I don't see why people are outraged that Dr Boyce might encourage people to invest in Africa. Investing in a country doesn't automatically mean you are out to exploit a country. I would think that most developing nations (or depressed areas of a developed country) would benefit from outside investment providing it's the right kind of investment. I have spent the last 10 years investing in a devoloping nation and it's become a success - I haven't exploited a single person or damaged the environment in any way. In fact, it has been recognized as a valuable contribution to the local area.

Anonymous said...

Without outside investment, most countries would be economically ruined. China became an economic superpower because of outside investment. Our kids become successful because of parental investment. Only an idiot would think that investment is always a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

What Dr. B is advocating is not the kind of financial support that Africa needs. Unfortunately, he is encouraging a Wall Street-like, hedge-fund, "hardcore-capitalism"-driven exploitative mission that can only spell more disaster for Africa and its peoples.

Whether it's a rich White man in a suit, or a Black so-called, self-described "People's scholar," we got to call a spade--exploitation--a spade.

El Haij Shalik Wanum said...

Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Exploitation is leaving a country poor. While capitalism led to the burst of our economic bubble in the US, the truth is that we are still far richer than other countries around the world. That is due to capitalism. I think you need to go around the world to see just how poor other countries actually are.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who studies economics knows that capitalism is what has opened the door for china and india to emerge as leading economies. When they were socialist and communist, their economic growth was stalled and poverty was horrible. This conversation is clearly being had by uneducated individuals. Also, I notice they provide no proof of their ridiculous assertions other than the desire to discredit the finance professor on this blog. Stupid.

Anonymous said...

I see girlearl and the rest of the Boyce Watkin worshippers, to include that fairy el rancho, are in full force here.

Anonymous said...

It takes both lovers and haters to keep things moving, so I am sure Dr Boyce is glad to have your voice heard also. Personally, I'm tired of you, but you must respect him if you spend all your time coming to his blog.

Anonymous said...

LOL. That's funny. He probably goes to bed dreaming about sucking his jock strap.

Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with acclaimed Novelist, Walter Mosley:

"Capitalism has no humanity. All that exists in the capitalist bible is the margin of profit, the market share, and those quirks of individualism that must be dealt with in much the same manner as a mechanic must deal with a faulty element: removal and replacement."

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I'm tired of you, but you must respect him if you spend all your time coming to his blog."

"Respect?" Don't flatter yourself. It's more like scared for the masses; scared for the impressionable Black youth who look up to him, who he's convinced to buy into his brand of "hardcore-capitalism;" more like scared for the Black sheep who can't see him for what he is--an opportunist; more like afraid that if the truth isn't spoken, more and more Black people would come to accept the lie as truth--as they already are, judging from the comments posted.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work brother, please keep it up.