Ed Gordon: Conversations In Black
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Ed Gordon is deemed by his peers as one of the most critical journalists in American History. This year, the award-winning journalist released his highly anticipated and acclaimed book, Conversations In Black, on Power, Politics, and Leadership.
Gordon recently celebrated his 60 th birthday in August, a significant milestone for a man who has helped to bring a voice to so many issues that are relevant to the Black community throughout his career. LEAD360 is proud to support Gordon on the release of his first book! We are honored to have the opportunity to share our interview with Ed, as he details why this book is so important right now as we continue to be enthralled in eradicating America’s racial pandemic.
Tell us why you decided to write this book.
Over the many years that I've been conducting interviews with various celebrities and thought leaders, often, the best part of the conversation happened before or after the cameras and microphones were off. I thought it would be great to capture some of that because people are often more candid when the cameras are turned off. I have had the honor of interviewing some remarkable people in my lifetime. I began thinking, what if I could get just some of these people in a room at one time. This book is meant to fill that gap, where I serve as the lynchpin after interviewing over forty prominent Black thought leaders with distinct and diverse views about the state of Black America and how we move forward in our quest to achieve equity and equality. While no one was in the same room at the same time, it reads as if they were. The book was released at the beginning of 2020. We were just starting the book tour when the (pandemic) lock down hit and it caused us to cancel all of our engagements. I wasn’t sure what that meant for the book, however the light that was shone on the disparity in healthcare and its impact on Black America, couple with the law enforcement murders of Ahmaud Aubery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the social unrest that followed made the discussions in the book even more relevant. I wrote the book believing Black America was in need of new narratives, the events since the book’s publishing made that search imperative.
In the book, you urge readers to start their own conversation about the state of Black America. You state that no monolithic thought can be, or should be reached by all African Americans on any subject. Why is this important to you?
I believe that our community has to have new narratives. I think that some of the narratives that we have used, particularly since the Civil Rights Movement have helped us and have been great, but some are outdated. We must challenge our leadership strategies a bit more, and our demands must be more significant. My intent with this book was to provide us with a starting point to get a myriad of voices to tell us how to advance our strategy to effect significant results.
At LEAD360, we believe Black leaders matter, and new strategies are required if we want to advance. In chapter five, It's the General's war, but the Soldiers Blood…the changing face of Black leadership, there were quite a bit of varying views about this subject. What's your take on the state of Black leadership in corporate America, specifically?
We've got to convince corporate America that equity and inclusion are required to drive innovation and a better bottom line. Suppose half of their employee base is diverse, but most of the diverse talent is in entry-level or junior-level positions. In that case, the lack of equity makes your diversity meaningless. The fact that we lack representation in key P&L positions is problematic. In the book, Maxine Watters talks about how the Congressional Diversity and Inclusion Committee will require corporations to report progress related to advancing diverse talent and providing equitable leadership opportunities and access within the supplier diversity pipeline. The bottom line is there is no easy way forward. It will require our leaders from various sectors and industries working as a collective unit with sound and cohesive strategies to drive real change. It doesn’t mean we can’t have diverse opinions and points of view, that too is required. But, if we continue to work in silos, we will fail to make significant progress.
To purchase Conversations In Black, on Power, Politics, and Leadership, click here.