Ebe on the power of remembering where you came from during Black History Month

At Dropbox, we like to spend all year celebrating the mix of cultures, backgrounds, and identities that make us unique. February is no exception; this month is filled with activities coordinated by BlackDropboxers, one of our awesome ERGs, in recognition of Black History Month. We chatted with Senior Deal Strategy Analyst Ebe Emeanuru about why it’s important to return to your roots and how Black content inspires her every day.

How do you think BlackDropboxers plays a part in increasing diversity and inclusion at Dropbox?

Everybody plays a part! Bringing in our experiences, our backgrounds, and the way we see the world really affects the way we do our work and the way our work is perceived. Ultimately that’s the goal of our company, making sure people are supported in their work. The way we do things has a lot to do with who we are, in that way, we’re all kind of able to bring about who we really are into how we work.

What experiences are you most looking forward to during Black History Month at Dropbox?

I’m really looking forward to the talk with Minda Hart, A Seat At The Table: Navigating Corporate America As A Person Of Color.” It’s in partnership with Amazon and Google, and I really love to see black individuals in the tech space come together and talk about things that are really pertinent and important to us. You don’t always get the opportunity to do such a thing. It’s uplifting to have that free open space to talk, be yourself, and create those connections.

What topic do you feel is top of mind for you and the black community inside or outside of Dropbox, and why?

Something that’s top of mind for me and applies to all people is authenticity. Working where your strengths are, knowing your strengths, nurturing, and building them up. Identifying your weaknesses and examining them is really important as well but we sometimes don’t get to do this. We tend to stumble into our careers because that’s what we studied in college and we’re just kind of in it unless we make a really intentional decision to change. Knowing your strengths and studying your weaknesses paired with working day by day to build yourself is extremely important. We’re all very different individuals with different backgrounds and understandings. In our communities, different strengths should shine, as well as different weaknesses. Where we’re weak someone else can come and fill that with their strengths. That’s what unity looks like to me.

What does sankofa mean to you? What elements of black history do you want to bring into the future?

2019 was the year of return in the Black community. The concept of traveling back to places where my history stems from is really important to me. I think there’s a lot of beauty in whatever nationality a person may be, but there’s also a lot to be learned from looking back to where your family or lineage came from. It doesn’t have to dilute where you are, but it’s important to know where you came from because if you don’t know where you came from it’s hard to figure out where you are going. It’s really powerful to take that step to learn about our individual backgrounds and where your people hail from, no matter how uncomfortable or hard it is. There’s beauty in every story.

What’s your favorite piece of Black content from the past, present, or future?

I haven’t been back to Nigeria in a while but something that kind of felt like a returning moment for me was the Tobe Nwigwe concert I went to last year in Houston, TX. Tobe along with his wife Fat and producer Nell are a rap group from the same area as I in Houston. It felt like a returning moment for me because he embodies who I am in my blackness — a Nigerian person who is rooted in America but also very culturally rooted in Nigeria. His music speaks loudly to me. I recall standing in the crowd as the people around me at the concert were crying as he spoke about his coming of age so to speak. He blew up in a way that no one expected, and for being from the part of Houston I’m from, it’s not common for people to blow up in that way. That was the closest to a return for me, realizing that there is so much power in recognizing our identity, and as a result, forgoing the attempt to be all things for being yourself. That was a huge part of it for me. You start to realize that there is no prescription for blackness, it’s just who you are and all the backgrounds that come together to form this powerful identity of blackness, that is who we are.

You can learn more about the various ERGs that support team members of all different backgrounds at Dropbox here.

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