Founders of "Share the Mic Now," Bozoma St. John and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, give advice on holding companies accountable while still speaking up for yourself.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Bozoma, we're living in a time where so many companies are addressing race in different areas. And I think for Black employees, sometimes you can feel like you're being tokenized or used as a prop. So what's your advice now for holding companies accountable while also speaking up for yourself?
BOZOMA SAINT JOHN: Well, I think it's a place of honor, to be honest. I mean, listen, you-- we have the privilege of being in the room when so many people are not in the room. And so I see it as a real opportunity to use my voice very loud. If you're going to shine the light on me and put a camera in front of my face and a mic in my hands, oh, then you better be ready for what I'm about to say.
And so I think that for all of us, we should be ready, that when it's that time to speak, that we do it. I mean, a lot of us are doing it, of course, on the daily basis. But if you've got the stage, talk loud, and don't let your voice shake.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: But Luvvie, how do you handle the fear of that-- the fear of repercussion, the fear of stepping out like that?
LUVVIE AJAYI JONES: Look, I understand that there's a lot of fear of punishments and all that stuff. I always want people to think about what the worst case scenario is. And if you being quiet means you are opting out of the worst-case scenario, you're also opting out of the best-case scenario. Like, I want people to opt out of the best-case scenario less, right?
We're always afraid of this-- you know, this consequence. Oh my god, I'm going to get fired. Are you really going to get fired for speaking up that one time? And if you do, is that really a company that you can grow in?
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Right.
LUVVIE AJAYI JONES: You know, and if you're not going to get fired, so what's the consequence you're afraid of? What is this big boogeyman that you don't want to, you know, see because you might speak up? And I think we're constantly giving so much credence to the worst-case scenario. And we're not doing the work that might possibly get us to that best-case scenario that could change the world, change the company, you know, change the room, change policies.
So I understand the fear, but you know, you got to do it anyway. I see fearlessness as I'm afraid, but I'm going to push through and do it anyway. So you kind of just do it anyway.