I’m looking forward to watching the film, Selma. Everything that I’ve heard about it indicates that it is a film that is well worth watching.
With it being award season, the frustration has been expressed about the limited diversity and representation of black artistes amongst the various categories for different awards ceremonies, especially when you have a film, which is as highly proclaimed as Selma released within the season.
Against this backdrop, it was nice to learn that a few songs from the film SELMA would be featured in this years Grammy. This has, however, led to some controversy of it’s own. The song, “Take My Hand Precious Lord” was sung by Beyonce at the Grammys. However, in the film itself the role of Mahalia Jackson is performed by a lovely Jazzy, earthy soul singer named Ledisi who I’m sure very ably sings the song in the film.
When John Legend was asked was asked why Beyonce was chosen to sing the song (instead of Ledisi) he is said to have responded, “Beyonce requested to sing the song and the offer was to good to pass up”. He is said to have said, “You don’t really say no to Beyonce if she asks to perform with you” he is said to have told a magazine.
When asked about the situation, Ledisi who would have been sitting in the audience provided a very gracious response, saying that she had, had the privilege to sing the song following on from legends such as Mahilia Jackson and Aretha Franklin and that now Beyonce was singing it and taking it to a different generation/audience.
I must say that I question John Legend’s defence that he could not turn Beyonce down. Maybe that’s the type of argument that comes to play when it comes to nominations for the various awards ceremonies, which do not represent the diversity of society.
Critically, I found myself reflecting on this in relation in relation to the workplace. You’ll probably say you don’t do things like this or if you do, it’s totally justified.
However, if you have capable staff with a fair amount of experience who work around the clock for your organisation, providing input to key projects, who are never thanked or publically acknowledged them maybe you are.
If you see the role of such staff to be to sit quietly in meetings without expressing an input; if you expect them to adhere to changes without ever having any say in what the changes may be, then you probably are. I could go on, but I won’t. Hopefully you can see my point.
There are obviously limits, but if you want them to continually give their best; to be fully engaged and stay with you for the long term. Do ensure that you f recognise what they have to offer, fully acknowledge them; involve them and make the most of them. If the people that we don’t fully appreciate have half of the talent of Ledisi, then we are doing not only them, but also ourselves a major disservice.
Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013
Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated