Bumping into Jay-Z in Nigeria



Your Black Money with Dr. Boyce: Bumping into Jay-Z in Nigeria

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. He’s not like a lot of other rappers I know, who are forced to be 40 year olds acting like they are still 18. 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.



Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 1:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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