In case you missed it, season one of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels” was full of great conversations with changemakers such as Charles D. King, Angelica Nwandu, D-Nice, Mona Scott-Young, and more. Now, REVOLT is back with season two and coming in hot with new faces, undeniable gems, and more dialogue about climbing to the top. On yesterday’s (March 6) episode, host Samuels sat down with award-winning business mogul Bozoma Saint John. The two talked about Saint John’s career journey, how she made a name for herself, and the importance of setting intentions.
If you are not familiar with the marketing executive’s portfolio, you will be. The episode began with the Hall of Famer not being shy about why she has earned her place in the industry over the last 25 years. Saint John identifies herself as a storied marketer. She has been with and held C-suite positions at Spike DDB, PepsiCo, Beats Music (acquired by Apple), Uber, Endeavor, Netflix, and is now a published author with the release of her new memoir, “The Urgent Life.”
After a jam-packed introduction, Samuels took a trip down memory lane and asked The Bada** Workshop curator about her time at PepsiCo. She mentioned that during the 10-year stint, it was the power of relationship building that helped her accomplish her goals. That very skill was integral in one of Saint John’s most notable marketing moments — arranging Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime show performance.
Samuels segued into getting more personal with the entrepreneur because while everything may look shiny on the outside, you never know what is happening behind the scenes. Saint John opened up about what was happening in her personal life during that time and being honest with others about it. “My climb had a few falls and trauma in it. At the same time, where I was reaching the peaks of marketing at its highest degree, my husband was battling cancer. So was my mother at the same time. The year 2013 was putting Beyoncé on that stage and, in my personal life, trying to manage what would become my future and dealing with the death of my husband,” she explained.
The conversation continued as Saint John further expressed that while trying to balance it all, her proudest moment was being able to show up in the fullness of herself, flaws and all.
As the mompreneur made power moves, along the way, there were people who questioned her motives. Samuels addressed the criticism that the former Netflix CMO gained over the years and inquired what her response is to those people who have made assumptions about her. “I do think it looks like I’m doing whatever I want. People have said I’m selfish or that I am unconcerned about a particular company’s well-being,” Saint John noted.
Elaborating, the marketing executive added, “I am going to make the moves that are going to benefit me. I have been completely unapologetic. When you are truly unapologetic, it is because you are concerned first and foremost about yourself. I don’t consider that selfish… I consider that survival. If I am going to be in these spaces and do the work, I want to be at the best place that is going to allow me to do the best work. At some point, regardless of where you are, you reach the top of your learning. When I move, it is because I need to continue to grow. I can’t be the best version of myself sitting around and marinating.”
Her remarks led into a deeper discussion about the importance of shifting the narrative of the Black community. Samuels acknowledged Saint John’s work in her home country, Ghana, including her involvement in the 2019 initiative “The Year of The Return.” The businesswoman’s work over the years has allowed her to speak passionately about her mission to show the beauty of Ghana to others.
Both Samuels and Saint John concluded the conversation by agreeing that there is a negative connotation behind Blackness, which unfortunately has caused a division within the Black community even though unification is needed now more than ever. Samuels wrapped up the episode by asking the multihyphenate what she has in store for the future. Even though Saint John did not state a clear next step for herself, she referenced her memoir, “The Urgent Life,” and the philosophy behind it.
“My mission and my message is one in the same: Live life with intention, and do what it is that you want to do right now, and hope life is better tomorrow,” the author expressed.
If you enjoyed this recap of the season two premiere, make sure to tune in to “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels” for new episodes every Monday at 5 p.m. ET on the REVOLT website, YouTube channel and app. Plus, watch the latest installment here.