Leadership Devlopment Projects Pt. 3

After Tuesday’s class, my group worked on our project highlighting the leadership development of Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole. We brainstormed this idea about what feels like a month ago when Dr. S assigned up groups and put us in breakout rooms. We thought about people in the music industry that we felt exhibited leadership.

I immediately thought about the psychological debate of nature versus nurture in regards to our project. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole both overcame their feasible route of becoming involved with the street life or violence. In neighborhoods like their own, the susceptibility of these young black teenagers and men to becoming gangsters is real. Kendrick is from Compton, California which is notorious for being a rough community to live in and J. Cole is from a trailer park in Fayetteville, North Carolina. J. Cole grew up in a toxic environment with his mom being an addict influenced by his stepfather. He then progressed on to graduate magna cum laude from St. John’s University.

We focused on the similarity of Kendrick and J.Cole using their environment to influence their leadership. The both of them have not forgotten their community. They both emerged on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movements. Kendrick with his song “Alright” inspired by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland. J.Cole has led many protests from back then and most recently amid the George Floyd protests. They have both become role models for many including myself. I believe they are not given enough credit, because supporting the Black Lives Matter movement has become controversial. This affects musicians more than people know because a lot of them are legally binded to music labels causing them to hesitate discussing racial injustice. Recently, Lil Baby made a passionate song called The Bigger Picture and expressed his regret for doing so due to the backlash received by his label. Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole have done this in their songs and physical activism unapologetically.

My group met up on facetime last Wednesday for an hour from four to five pm to discuss our presentation. We wanted to take preventative measures to ensure our presentation would run smoothly, but we still encountered some technical difficulties. The Kahoot game that Nyeema had planned did not work. Despite a couple challenges, we persisted and continued to present as best we could. I was nervous because I do not really like to turn on my camera and speak, so I was putting myself out there for a change. I loved working with Chanel and Nyeema because they cared just as much about the project as I did; we truly shared equal sentiments about the content we created. We found a cute powerpoint slideshow on Slides Carnival of a notebook. We saw it fitting to our theme of artists and we provided a deep analysis for the clips of the songs we chose as our key passages.

Plotting Leadership Development:

What artistic outlets could you use to express your leadership? What is your inspiration for your topic? Who do you want informed? What do you imagine the impact to be?

I have been swimming since the age of four, so I could use that to show leadership in my community. The local swimming programs are largely underfunded resulting in the lack of dedicated coaches. I give lessons to children of family friends and some of my mom’s coworkers for fun. I have always wanted to be a coach and hope to lead a team in the near future. I can offer myself to work as a volunteer since there are not much funds to cover the vital expenses of the team itself. A lot of black children in my community do not have the people or resources to improve their swimming techniques. I can partner with one of the local high schools and with the PAL to execute this mission. I want black kids to feel as though they have the same opportunity to try out for the Olympics as the swimmers from the more privileged towns that are adjacent to ours. I imagine many people would enroll their children and remain consistent with attending practice under the leadership of a dedicated coach.

Alexa also presented her project after us on the Iron Lady, a movie based on Margaret Thatcher. She was not depicted as a heroine or monster in the movie. After watching it, I did not have much of an idea what I would categorize her character as. I did find similarities to my project because Margaret Thatcher came from humble beginnings by being the daughter of a Grantham grocer and she went on to become the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom for eleven years.

Is discipline an important characteristic of a leader?

Yes, discipline is an important characteristic of a leader because it requires people to have a plan and followers hold them accountable for their actions. Discipline is necessary to deliver consistent results or promises. A person that does not deal with things in a disciplined manner is often incapable of achieving long-term results or goals. This is similar to students in school, to do well requires discipline and the high grades are the long-term results along with the knowledge acquired.

What role does age play in leadership? Are there certain milestones or trademarks that are represented in age?

No, I do not believe leadership is contingent upon age, but it can help foster one’s development into a leader. I believe a person of any age can lead in different ways. I believe the longer someone has lived has experienced more making them a better leader since they are equipped with more knowledge. I believe our society has brainwashed into acting as if there are certain milestones or trademarks represented in age such as graduating school, starting a career, getting married, or having children even. This assumption held by many is wrong because so many people have defied these odds. Also, everyone moves at their own pace I believe.

As a leader, how do we know when it is time for us to go or “pass the torch”? How do we prepare for this?

I believe leaders require the virtues of humility and wisdom to “pass the torch” which is the opposite of what we are currently seeing in the United States with the presidency of Donald Trump. It has been almost two weeks after the election indicating the win of president-elect Joe Biden, and he is still claiming there were fraudulent ballots from dead people or make believe people in many states. Despite the verification by valid sources that the 2020 election has been the most secure in history, Trump is still tweeting absurd claims that his followers are supporting. There has always been a peaceful transition of power, but Trump has not exhibited this. His administration is not cooperating with Biden’s and I believe Michelle Obama’s instagram caption was beautifully said in regards of knowing when to “pass the torch”:

“This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I was four years ago. Hillary Clinton had just been dealt a tough loss by a far closer margin than the one we’ve seen this year. I was hurt and disappointed — but the votes had been counted and Donald Trump had won. The American people had spoken. And one of the great responsibilities of the presidency is to listen when they do. So my husband and I instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power — one of the hallmarks of American democracy. We invited the folks from the president-elect’s team into our offices and prepared detailed memos for them, offering what we’d learned over the past eight years.I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me. Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside. So I welcomed Melania Trump into the White House and talked with her about my experience, answering every question she had — from the heightened scrutiny that comes with being First Lady to what it’s like to raise kids in the White House. I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do — because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego. Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don’t like them or wish it had gone differently — the presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party. To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories — whether for personal or political gain — is to put our country’s health and security in danger. This isn’t a game. So I want to urge all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.”

On Tuesday, the 16th of November: Ernestasia, Nyara, and Rikita presented their group project on Beyonce’s lemonade. They began their presentation with a little Beyonce trivia and gave away $5 to the winner. I tried to answer, but some of the questions were a bit difficult and I guess I am a slow typer.

We had a great class discussion about black love and the glorification of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s relationship. Her sixth studio album, Lemonade, covered the infidelity, trauma, and discrimination. It was complimented with a minte visual album on HBO that I was obsessed with for a while.

How do you think this album impacted the depiction of black love and relationships?

I believe this taught a lot of people to stop idolizing celebrity relationships. It portrayed the belief that these celebrities are no different from the average black marriage. Beyonce also exuded her resilience by acknowledging and dealing with her trauma and sharing how she embraced sisterhood after experiencing infidelity within her marriage. Their efforts to move forward and heal has also defied the odds often assumed by society that black people usually have broken marriages.

Do you think going through devastating trauma propels or discourages your leadership abilities?

I believe trauma propels my leadership abilities. I have experienced a lot from a young age which motivates me to be a better example and person to the people around me. I have habits of wanting to go above and beyond by helping other people because of resonation. I know the feelings of hopelessness, depression, and thinking everyone around me does not care. I hate those feelings and always want to make others aware of the fact that I do care. Living through 2020 which was a year loaded with so many traumas from the global pandemic to racial injustice to the election, I believe this will only propel our leadership abilities. I think society sees how easy it is to lose everything or what was considered normalcy in the matter of twenty-four hours, and we will hopefully not take time for granted.

Your favorite song on the album and why? What is it’s impact on your leadership?

My favorite song on the album was Sorry because it is a whole mood. I believe men sometimes do not appreciate their partners enough and become too prideful. This song lets Jay-Z and all the men know that women are not deterred by their unfaithfulness. Sorry represents women empowerment in relation to relationships. Beyonce goes to the club with her friends instead of being alone and sulking at home. She dumps him in the visual because she knows her self worth and demands respect. This song has influenced my leadership by being a reminder to be unapologetically confident in myself. I should not have to accept infidelity or someone’s mere disrespect because I know who I am.