What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Ledisi, Beyonce


“20111016 Ledisi at the MLK Memorial dedication concert” by TonyTheTiger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


How did I feel when I heard that Beyonce would be singing Take My Hand during the Grammy’s instead of Ledisi—the talented singer who played Mahalia Jackson in the Selma movie and delivered an incredible performance?

I was livid.

I even tweeted about the shade being thrown to dark girls with natural hair not getting their fair shake.


As more of the story was revealed on just how Beyonce came about to sing the song, I saw a very important lesson for entrepreneurs.

First, I’m no member of the Bey-hive but I do/did have a level respect for her as a female business owner. Not sure how I feel after this last stunt though. She dropped her last album (seriously not a fan of this one) on her terms and that was impressive.

What Beyonce Did

She saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. She wasn’t afraid to pitch herself and sold her idea to two men who claimed they just couldn’t say no to her. They should have. As business owners we have to be willing to pitch ourselves and put ourselves out there. It’s about taking calculated risks. Now whether or not Beyonce knew the magnitude of the fallout is anybody’s guess. She saw something and went after it. Should she have? Not if you believe in the principle of reaping and sowing or karma. I applaud her ability to see opportunities where others don’t. But as every business owner knows, not every opportunity is a good one and some you let pass. She should have passed.

I do think this is an area many entrepreneurs can grow in—scoping the horizon for positive opportunities to grow as a brand/business.

Why Didn’t Ledisi Pitch Herself

Beyonce apparently knew of the Grammy’s tribute to the film and that’s why she pitched herself to sing that song. Was this common knowledge or something only a few knew about? If Ledisi knew or even better, her people knew, why didn’t they pitch her? Why didn’t someone say, “hey let’s ride this momentum?” The post press has been good for her though. She delivered a gracious response to this whole fiasco but I’m concerned about what could have been.

I know as entrepreneurs we have to be ready for our moment and sometimes you make those moments happen by being aggressive and going after the big prize. I believe in kicking in a few doors when appropriate. Being an outsider it looked like a good door-kicking opportunity.

So entrepreneurs, always look for opportunities to expand/expose your brand in karma-friendly circumstances and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Opportunity doesn’t always knock, sometimes you have tell opportunity, “I’m here.”

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