#BlackExcellence – What’s all the fuss about?

In the age of information abundance and millennial satisfaction, social media plays a massive role in dictating the trends of culture. Right now, amongst all the hashtags, one that seems to be doing the regular rounds on ‘Black Twitter’ and other affiliates is #BlackExcellence. The idea is that we, our community, are celebrating individuals who are excelling or generally doing well and good. We are changing the already imposed narrative that most of us of the darker hue may not amount to much.

Thing is… I would like to say it’s that simple but nothing in this life ever is. I’ve seen a lot of criticism on social media in reference to the hashtag but they primarily boil down to two arguments:

1) We’re always praising academic achievements, white-collar success, subscribing to the capitalism ideals and benchmarks of success etc. etc. etc.
2) Why isn’t there a #WhiteExcellence?

(sigh)

Let it be known that I, for one, am a strong proponent for #BlackExcellence but my affinity for the cause is more deeply rooted.

I can understand the first point, in fairness. A Twitter search of the hashtag and you find the majority of posts are education related. You need not search long to find post after post of praise for the newest Oxbridge graduate or someone who recently got an amazing internship at a big company in the city. Or you’re just earning loads of money. Those feats are neither minor or easy so they are commended.

Point B is a whole lot of nonsense and anyone with even the smallest understanding of the world we live in should quickly understand why. We need not dwell on that.

But here’s what I think…

Although I love the term #BlackExcellence, I understand that we have developed it into ‘members only’ club for certain people; for the university educated, for the suit & smart shoes or the doctor’s coat types. And this bothers some. There is nothing that makes me feel more pride than another brother OR SISTER getting a nice job in a well-known firm in the city HOWEVER that is not the be-all and end-all of our excellence.
You’ve changed your life around for the better? You’re serving your local community? You’re uplifting and inspiring others?
You are #BlackExcellence.

Seeing the current and the next generation thrive and be inspired will forever be something close to my heart. Understand that it’s an accomplishment to persevere in a society, let alone a world, that profits overtly and covertly from your very existence being deemed as secondary, replaceable and to be subjugated. So waking up every day, not giving up on life and going out to pursue what’s been laid on your heart is #BlackExcellence. We must promote that.

I can’t think of any better example than what my colleagues and I do at #WOKEWeekly. We engage passionate university students to talk, share and debate real, pertinent topics and encourage enlightenment. But outside of that, through our #BlackExcellence series on Instagram we highlight our brothers and sisters closer to home who are embodying the term in their own special way and put them out there for people to connect with and be inspired by them (Cheeky plug, follow us on all social media @wokeweeklyuk).

#BlackExcellence sometimes can put pressure on one to prove something to the world. We really need to let it be an avenue for inspiration and not another reason for myself to feel bad because I’m not like the person I see on the screen. #BlackExcellence is not just about the success, it’s the enlightenment. So be enlightened!

Jide Tijani

@Jay_Tijani

jaytijani.com

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