Adebukola Ajao is a woman on a mission. She is a freelance writer turned digital – media entrepreneur. When Nigerian Parents caught up with Ajao in Boston Massachusetts, it was obvious that she has an impeccable work ethic. When Ajao is not engaged with community events such as educating and youth mentoring, she is working with clients from her media consulting business.
Ajao graduated from Emmanuel college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and African studies. Ajao has been published by Huffington Post.
Nigerian Parents magazine is proud and honored to bring you her story. She is inspiring in so many ways.
Impeccable Work Ethic
First, we were intrigued by Ajao’s impeccable work ethic at a very young age. She, like our last feature Precious Henshaw captures the very reason why we started Nigerian Parents magazine – to tell the stories of Nigerians – young and old who, in doing remarkable things are helping to shape the image of Nigerians in the United States and beyond.
The World in Her Terms
Second, Ajao has engaged the world in her own terms. She is young, smart, and beautiful. Currently, she owns BDY, a media consulting firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. From their base in Boston, BDY is developing “badass” brands. In a candid interview with Nigerian Parents NP, Ajao tells us about herself and the remarkable things that she is doing.
Third, Adebukola is fearless. She speaks with boldness and follows her own rules. She refuses to adhere to the status quo as she continues to evolve new ways of doing business. In fact, her boldness shows on her website www.adebukola.com. I asked her about the words and pictures on her website, all she did was to chuckle, “it’s just who I am” she says.
NP: When did you realize you wanted to go into digital marketing and writing?
ADEBUKOLA: The writing came first. I started freelancing for the Huffington Post in 2014 in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. My first article went viral. I wanted to tell stories and then was intrigued by the content management system we used to submit our stories.
NP: Uzo Aduba told a story about how she wanted to change her name to Zoey because no one in neighborhood knew how to pronounce her given name of Uzoamaka. Do you have any childhood story that stands out to you?
ADEBUKOLA: Yes, I have plenty of childhood stories. In terms of identity, I grew up in a Black-empowered household. My parents were not having that “Oh, I want my name to be regular” nonsense. However, I did have that experience. The thought crossed my mind: what if I had a regular name?
NP: You seem like a young woman with an impeccable work ethic. What motivates you?
ADEBUKOLA: Motivation is an intrinsic value for me. I’m just built this way. What I have learned in my short life is that I have a choice: 1) complain about not having a good life or 2) use that same energy to do the work and make a difference. I choose to do the latter.
NP: You have been published by Huffington Post, something many writers only dream of. Are you planning on writing a book?
ADEBUKOLA: I hate writing with an absolute passion. It’s also one of the reasons I’m drawn to it. I always go after what I find to be difficult or impossible. That’s where the real growth is. If I keep doing what I’m good at, then I’ll never really know how far my talents can take me. I hope to write a book. I have plenty of journals filled with notes and stories and ideas. It’ll happen someday, I hope!
NP: Nigerian Parents put out a question on Instagram about Nigerian authors. What Nigerian author do you admire the most?
ADEBUKOLA: Tomi Adeyemi, hands down. She’s not my all-time favorite, but I’m super-proud of her. We’re almost the same age.
NP: It is common for Nigerian parents to set their expectations for their children. How supportive have your parents been in your chosen line of work?
The socialization of Nigerian children is certainly a topic for discussion. My experience is different, though. My dad is a musician (among many other things) and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. My mother finished high school and has been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. My parents are supportive of whatever I do if it makes me happy. They are creative, so they didn’t have any expectations for what my siblings and I should do—something like, oh, you must be a doctor or an engineer. You can’t force anyone to do something they’re not good at. But, as you might know, excellence is the minimum expectation in any Nigerian household. My parents upheld that expectation. They expected me to be great in whatever I chose to do.
NP: What do you think is influencing your family values and has propelled you to this point and hopefully will continue to propel you to greater heights?
ADEBUKOLA: My family has a “NO EXCUSES” and “GET IT DONE” value system. My father used to tell me “Nobody owes you anything.” What he meant was that everything I acquire will be on my own merit. I can’t wait for someone to just give something to me. I must work hard and work smart to get what I desire.
NP: Do you speak any Nigerian languages? What do you think is the best way to ensure that Nigerian children understand and speak any of the languages local to Nigerians?
ADEBUKOLA: I understand and can read Yoruba. I find it fascinating that a lot of Nigerians who live in Nigeria don’t understand Yoruba or any other language but English. When I went to Nigeria in 2003, I encountered that a lot and it was weird. I witnessed people eating with forks and knives and living lavishly, while I was happily eating pounded yams with my hands and loving every minute as well as feeling safer in the mainland than the island. Some say I am a bush girl.
NP: You are on Nigerian Parents magazine’s feature page because you deserve to be celebrated. Our goal at Nigerian Parents is to continue to celebrate Nigerian excellence in the United States. What would you say to other Nigerian youths like you who have big dreams?
ADEBUKOLA: Wow, thank you so much for this honor. I’m grateful, especially as someone who really does not seek attention. I just like to get the work done. So, thank you for noticing me. I would say to any young person, “Never be at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1). Woe to those who are at ease when the world is suffering. Woe to those who are at ease and not using their gift to make positive changes. I do what I do because I genuinely want to support people. I am solving problems and striving to make a difference in people’s lives. Make a difference with what you have, as the world really needs help. Never be at ease!
NP: Who would you say is your role model?
ADEBUKOLA: I don’t have a role model. I take inspiration from many different people in my life. No one is so perfect that I want to emulate everything about them. I take the good from people and discard the rest. I am inspired and believe in Jesus Christ’s teachings. I take heed of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and I hold onto my family’s values. I’ll take advice from a five-year-old if it makes sense for me.