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Chad Sanders: Black Magic


Chad Sanders

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Kelly talks to entrepreneur and media mogul Chad Sanders about his new book Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned From Trauma and Triumph.

So this is a book about trauma. In particular, the trauma of growing up black in America. But it’s about the positive impact of that trauma on these individuals that you interviewed.

“In the book, I interview 15 people who we're willing to go on the record to share the ways that since childhood they have endured traumas in this country that have informed the ways that they do their business. That goes for everybody from a pastor of a church in Brooklyn to the CEO of a large media company to, you know, one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter movement, to the head of startups at Google. And I think there's something that all people can learn from the stories about adapting from trauma, about evolving through trauma and using the tools that you develop in trauma to find success and whatever it is that you set your mind to.”

And you’re not saying these institutional and systemic failings aren’t bad and shouldn’t be changed and fought against, but you're also saying you can use these things to your advantage sometimes.

“In my point of view,  and this was something that was always hammered in me by my parents,  especially my dad. He wanted to instill in me that if I lived my entire life in fear and if I lived my entire life always dreading what was the next shoe to drop for me, that wouldn't really be a life worth living at all. And the ultimate failure is to let the atrocities and the traumas that surround us take over my emotional state and take over my mentality. You know, make me feel so defeated that I wouldn't try to become an author, that I wouldn't try to write screenplays, that I wouldn't try to build a media company, you know, things that I dreamed of: acting, making music, also just kind of normal everyday things.”

You have an interesting suggestion in the book that your silence can be one of your superpowers.

“Comfort with discomfort is absolutely a superpower. And specifically, especially in corporate environments, companies are trying to have conversations about diversity and inclusion and race and trauma and history. There is this moment that occurs in a meeting where you are the only one - and a conversation comes up that isn't comfortable and you feel all the eyes and the room sort of find their way over to you and you are expected to speak as the spokesperson for all black people are all Asian people are all gay people or all  transgender people, whatever the case may be. You don't have to wear that responsibility, you know, that's a choice and your silence can be your powerful choice.”

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