Jumoke Dada, CEO & Founder of Signature RED and Signature Red Cares
I’m a first-generation Nigerian-American and I have a growing appreciation for my life that has straddled both the Nigerian and African-American cultures. To me, the future of blackness looks like a well-developed African continent (a thriving economy and solid infrastructure throughout the continent) and like us being equally concerned about matters on the continent as we are with the entire diaspora.
Whereas I understand the need to take care of “home” first, if Africa is our original home, then we have to be concerned about life there, too. I don’t know what the future holds for life in the diaspora, but I know that Africa is rising and I believe that those who have the means to help it reach its fullest potential should do so. In the business sense, the opportunities that exist there are limitless. In the future, blackness as a whole looks like more partnerships, imports, exports, and exchanges of ideas and resources, so that we are all educated, thriving and flourishing whether we live in the diaspora or on the continent.
I think that any African-American who has a passport (also, the time and income) should make it a point to visit the continent in their lifetime. We have to see ourselves in Africans and vice versa, and one of the best ways to do so is to experience the culture. On the local front, we have to see ourselves in each other in order to truly be each other’s keeper. We should support HBCUs when they ask for financial support. We should give back to our communities. We should be politically engaged. We should support black businesses. We should mentor our youth.
I see tech as being the vehicle to which people are able to bring to life what they envision and solutions to everyday problems regardless of their socio- economic status.
There’s so much innovation in our youth. Yet, we’re still dealing with issues from the digital divide.
In tech, I think we’re beginning to have a lot more examples coming in who can reach back and draw out some innovative people who need support. There’s so much untapped talent in these neighborhoods that needs to be unearthed.
Everything that I do has some form of these three things: innovation, education, or community-building, whether it’s tech, people or places. I think about my legacy and, when it’s all said and done, I want to know that I fulfilled my purpose, brought my ideas to life, and helped as many people as I could. Everyone can’t do everything, but if we do our part, then I believe we will get to a place where we thrive as a collective.
Jumoke's Revolutionary Picks:
Nelson Mandela. He was brave and sacrificed his freedom for his people and the humanity that he believed in.
Harriet Tubman. She first helped herself escape slavery then went back to help others. The selflessness of her life is a constant reminder to me that I can do more.