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This Book Helps Black Women Unlock Corporate Success

Marketing and communications expert Tashion Macon has penned a new book, "Coming in Hot: A Blueprint for Black Women Setting the World Ablaze."

There's been a lot said about the gender pay gap, where women earn less than men for the same position, but there's not as much coverage when the same disparity accounts for race. In the United States, Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar white men make.

Tashion Macon, a marketing and branding executive for award-winning artists such as Usher, Dr. Dre and Pink, decided to stop keeping quiet about it. During the summer of 2020, she reflected on her experiences in marketing and philanthropy to write her first book Coming in Hot: A Blueprint for Black Women Setting the World Ablaze. The book maps out a vision for success in corporate America, speaking to both Black female professionals and to all company leaders, to foster greater equity in the workplace. 

“I believe in the importance of Black women,” Macon said. “It is high time that we're honored for our contributions and to be unapologetic about how we come into these spaces and places as ourselves.”

Dr. Tashion Macon. Photo: Supplied/strut AGENCY, Kawai Matthews

Macon said she was inspired by her great grandmother Minnie Holman, who family members affectionately called “Mama Holman.” She escaped from the Jim Crow South by “jumping trains” at the tender age of 10 or 11, and ended up in East St. Louis, IL.

Mama Holman saved enough money from selling sandwiches on roadsides to rent a house in her new neighborhood on a rent-to-buy plan. Young Holman eventually turned the basement into a juke joint, where she ran numbers and sold moonshine. 

“She was just an industrious entrepreneurial woman, like, she did what she had to do,” said Macon, beaming in remembrance.

Holman’s basement juke joint was on the Chitlin' Circuit and was one of the limited places Black artists could perform, she said.

Macon grew up seeing Tina Turner, Miles Davis, B.B. King and Bobby Womack perform. She recalled pig feet and pickled eggs for sale for patrons, and the whole place felt like a scene right out of the film The Color Purple, Macon said.

It was Mama Holman that gave Macon a knack for math as she helped her with small business tasks. The matriarch passed onto her family some invaluable wisdom on the power of ownership, having a sound work ethic and respecting every client no matter where they were in their journey of life.

Macon said she capitalized on her unique upbringing by becoming an entrepreneur herself, to eventually lead Strut Agency, a communication and strategy firm. 

In her book, Macon tells readers how to get ahead in the corporate world. Her advice for women graduating and entering the workforce is to avoid obsessing over fancy work titles, so that it doesn’t become a hindrance when it's time to let go.

“Your title is something you rent, your talent is what you own. And it's like an apartment. When it's time to leave, know that you take your talent with you,” she said.

For women looking for a career boost, she advises serving on an advisory board of a nonprofit that aligns with your passions and values.

“Serving in that way gives you access to different dimensions of relationships that are not inside of your corporation,” Macon said. 

In her book, Macon asserts that Black women in the workplace have a gift that she calls their “blaze." Black women should go into every space with the courage and tenacity to bet on their own blaze, in spite of the existing challenges, including lower pay rates and disparities in Black maternal health care. 

“I think we've been inundated with the data, and the data can be so daunting,” Macon said. “It can be dire if we let it, right? I would say that this data doesn't have to be defining, but it can be directional.”


Anastasia Tomkin

About the Author: Anastasia Tomkin

Anastasia is a BK Reader freelance journalist. She hosts a YouTube show called "The Police Accountability Project", where she interviews guests about the challenges to implementing police reform. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and salsa dancing.
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