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Posted December 16th 2020

By Auliana Poon

5 Minutes Read


Love Yourself.
The Beginning of Everything.
Black is Beautiful.

Having grown up in a developing country (Trinidad and Tobago), and after more than thirty (30) working in developing countries – from Angola and Antigua to Barbados, Dominica, Indonesia, St. Lucia South Africa, and Zambia, I have never stopped asking the question: why are people in developing countries not developing; why are we not resilient; why are we not developing faster; what keeps us down; what can be done to make a difference; to alleviate suffering. And people are suffering.  Poverty, abuse, drugs, AIDS, unemployment, you name it, peoples’ lives and livelihoods are under threat.  Covid-19 merely exacerbates this problem. But how do we alleviate poverty? How to increase the chances of sustainable success?

Leve Global - Black is Beautiful

Many programmes that offer assistance do exist – from free education, free condoms, free medicine, subsidized jobs, welfare and food stamps.  But problems persist.  


We need to recognise that the solution to AIDS is not a drug or a condom, but a confident man and woman. And we need to focus on building this confidence; this hope; this belief in self; belief in the future and grow the love of self – our brown hair and black skin!


After some deep thought and some soul-searching, I have concluded that at the heart of the problem lies a lack of belief in oneself; a lack of sense of self and belief in oneself.  This leads to a lack of confidence and lack of sense of self-worth; and not believing that we have what it takes to succeed – a sense of hopelessness.  


Unless developing countries, like those in the Caribbean, learn to love ourselves; to not be ashamed of our history, or colour of our skin, the texture of our hair, or our tumultuous heritage, the gateways of success will be blocked.  Poverty, abuse, drugs, AIDS, unemployment, disease will continue to be the order of the day.

Important Keys to Success

Confidence, creativity, know-how, self-esteem and loving who we are, constitute important keys to success any and everywhere.  However, these attributes are particularly important for post-colonial societies that have been brainwashed into thinking and believing that we are “lesser than”.

Unless black people learn to love who we are – love our black skin, thick lips, voluptuous hips and curly hair – we will continue to think we are inferior in all aspects of life, love, career and business. Unless there is a changed mind-set in islands such as Jamaica and Tobago, women (and men) will continue to damage their natural assets (their skin and hair) by bleaching their skin and straightening their hair in order to look less black. How can Caribbean women and youth be successful, creative and productive; say no to drugs; practice safer sex; avoid prostitution; speak out against child abuse; practice great parenting; avoid teenage pregnancies; and avoid criminal energies, if they detest who they are; if we continue to feel insecure and inferior?


To truly succeed in life and embrace our unique identity and cultural heritage, it is important that we learn to understand truly believe that BLACK is beautiful. This acronym, BLACK, was coined by Dr. Auliana Poon when she delivered the feature address to a Junior Achievement assembly in Trinidad.


The acronym, BLACK, aims to unleash talent and creativity of post-colonial and abused peoples that have been in one way or another made to feel “less than”.


The meaning of the acronym BLACK – is unpackaged below.


B – Believe in yourself


L – Love who you are


A – Attitude is everything


C – Be Creative


K – Knowledge will set you free

Believe in Yourself!

The biggest difference between successful and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources or skin colour.  It’s the belief that they can make their dreams come true. The strongest factor for success is self-esteem – believing you can do it; believing you deserve it; and believing you will get it – because you are good enough, because you are smart enough, because you are beautiful enough. It is important to believe in yourself because you are the brand. Only you can truly be you.

Love Who You Are

“The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love” – Pope John Paul II.

It’s not selfish to love yourself. By loving yourself you’d be better able to lover others. We can really help the planet when we come from a space of great love and joy on an individual basis. If you can’t love yourself, how do you expect to love others or receive their love in return? When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.


But how do you truly love yourself? At its core, love is about appreciation and acceptance. So loving yourself really boils down to learning to appreciate and accept who you are and who you are becoming.

Attitude is Everything

While aptitude and qualifications (diplomas, degrees, skills, etc.) are important and even necessary (in some areas), they are not sufficient to guarantee success. Sufficiency required the adoption of the appropriate attitudes and approaches to life and work. Your attitude of choice (and yes, you can choose your attitude) can make the difference between success and failure. Remember that it is not about the job that you do or love, but whether people like working with you; like having you around and will help you to you succeed. Your attitude can determine whether your peers are a help or a hindrance.


Innovation and Creativity are also essential elements of success.  Innovation refers to bringing new or improved products, ideas or services to the market. Creativity and the creation of new.  

Knowledge Will Set You Free

Knowledge and know-how are perhaps the only assets that cannot be taken away from you. Your house can burn down, your parents can die, your clothes can go out of fashion, but your knowledge will always be there and will keep growing, once you allow it. If you are knowledgeable and seek knowledge, you become more confident, less able to be fooled and develop your own views. You can be inquisitive, pose questions, agree or disagree without fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.

About the Author:

Dr. Auliana Poon
Managing Director/Chief Strategist
Leve Global

auliana poon

Dr. Auliana Poon heads Leve-Global.  She is a courageous and passionate businesswoman. A trained Economist, Dr. Poon is a management consultant and strategist with a focus on sustainable and responsible tourism, climate adaptation, and regenerative economic development. Dr. Poon led teams that developed innovative economic solutions for over 50 countries around the world including Australia, Barbados, the Bahamas, Iceland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mozambique, Singapore, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland and Zambia.

An experienced researcher and analyst with fiercely independent thought, Dr Poon believes that developing countries cannot continue to compete with natural attributes – Sun, Sand, Sea, Oil and Natural Gas alone.  For success and sustainability, a more people-centred, culture-oriented, innovation-based, sustainability-directed, technology-focused and talent-driven approach is needed. 

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