I’m so sorry, ya’ll! It’ been a very busy March and I know that I’ve dropped the ball in getting content out. Trust me, it’s not because I didn’t want to, but between school, work, and traveling for work, it’s been a doozy of a month. Forgive me!
It’s only right that I come back with #MelaninatedExcellence feature this week. For this week, I want to honor a great expat who is making an impact (literally) across the world. Meet Dana Ford! A great bruh of mine whose made an impact on my life in more ways than one. He actually helped me create my very first resume that landed me my very first internship. Here’s his perspective of #MelaninatedExcellence:
What does #melaninatedexcellence mean to you?
When my good brother, Mr. Jamal Myrick, asked me if I would like to be featured on his site for exuding black excellence and as an international educator — I was honored and humbled. As I was asked the question, “What does ‘Melaninated Excellence’ mean to you?” My first reaction to this multi-layered question is there are so many things that encompasses “black excellence”. However, when I think of black excellence, I think of resilience, tenacity, ambition, innovation, humility, and determination to name a few attributes that describe those who are excelling while black.
It’s not easy striving for excellence and being a black male is an even more arduous journey. There are always obstacles that will come and try to knock you off course. However, you must remain steadfast and keep your end goal in sight. For generations, black excellence has graced the halls of colleges and universities, created life-changing devices, spoke inspiring words to the masses, fought for equalities and discovered breakthrough research. The road to excellence is never easy and most certainly never straight. Although being resilient and never giving up or quitting after your first or fifth failure; always having a goal and not letting anyone or anything stop you from accomplishing it; thinking outside the box and being ready for any situation so you never have to get ready for when the time calls; and knowing when to be humble yet still determined to succeed— is only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to black excellence.
There are so many role models and leaders who have shown and demonstrated black excellence but there is always something or someone who will try to rip their excellence from them. Be it President Emeritus Barack Obama, television mogul Oprah Winfrey, comedian and tv star Bill Cosby, whomever, you will have to defend and protect your excellence! You have to stand in the face of adversity and let your excellence shine and hope that people won’t discredited it because the color of your skin. It’s not easy but many of us do it every single day with our heads held high and forgiveness in our hearts all the while knowing that we must lead by example because we might be the only representation of black excellence that someone black or non-black may ever encounter.
Currently, I’ve been living in Shanghai, China for the past four years and I am the only black person some Chinese have or will ever meet or see so I might be the ambassador for black excellence (Although I pray to the Most Hight that I am not). I have the opportunity to confirm and/or debunk any myths, lies, stereotypes and misconceptions that the media has portrayed about blacks. I’ve experienced so much both positive and negative while living abroad, but it hasn’t stopped me from accomplishing my goals. I continue to show compassion and educate people on their ignorance as many people abroad have little understanding of what it’s like being a black educated male from a family of 12 siblings, especially in a homogenous country like China where you stick out like a sore thumb.
My excellence, as Jamal would like to call it, has been recognized by my supervisors, co-workers, and employees which has granted me national and international awards, several promotions, travel opportunities and the ability to motivate and inspire other people of color who may be considering moving or visiting abroad. As I continue to strive towards excellence while preparing for success, (because I believe success is a journey not a destination) I live by the motto: Fly high or get flown over and everything that you’re going through is to prepare you for what you’ve asked for. I would encourage everyone, if given the opportunity, to travel and explore different cultures because it opens your world up to so many different and beautiful things and people and again you may be the only representation of excellence that someone may ever encounter.
Who is Dana Ford?
Dana Ford was born and raised in Florida. Mr. Ford comes from a large family of 6 brothers and 6 sisters. He earned his B.S. in Political Science and Criminology from FSU, M.A. International Studies with concentration in Education from Concordia University- Irvine, CA. Dana has a passion for educating and helping others and an affinity for travel and learning about different cultures.