When Bozoma Saint John stepped onto the stage at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference yesterday, she had already done something special before even opening her mouth. The annual event is prestigious in the tech world but not exactly a haven for diversity.
Middle aged white men are usually the dominant face. Saint John who is currently Apple Music’s head of Global Consumer Marketing, in all her #BlackGirlMagic, shook things up and sent Twitter into a frenzy.
Can someone please bring back Bozoma?
— Kwame Opam (@kwameopam) June 13, 2016
Here’s what she did: In front of the crowd of mostly white men who clearly don’t listen to hip hop, the Ghanaian beauty played rappers delight to demonstrate Apple’s new real time lyrics.
“C’mon, y’all, now you recognize this beat, right?,” she said. “C’mon, we’re gonna rap. C’mon, y’all.”
The crowd didn’t get it. But that didn’t faze Saint John.
“OK, you know what? No,” she said. “We’re going to pause this because some of you guys are not rapping to the beat, OK? But you’ll have plenty of time on your own to study the lyrics,” she said basically showing a room of white men they just aren’t hip. It was one of the bossiest move in tech history.
She didn’t stop there. When it was time to close her demonstration, she played “Atom” by the Ghanaian group Ye Wo Krom featuring Jhunea. Let the people know Ms. Saint John!
If you’re not familiar with her story, the 38 year old advertising and marketing executive got her start at Spike Lee’s Ad agency after she graduated from Wesleyan. As Lee worked hard to woo Pepsi as a client, Bozoma crafted the idea to use Beyoncé as her character in “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” for the company’s 2002 campaign. “For me it was easy to make those kinds of pop culture connections. Spike wasn’t sure about the idea, but Pepsi loved it. I think it was naïveté. I didn’t have the knowledge that anyone would say, “You’re too young. You’re not experienced.” Over the years, my gut has proved me right so many times. I trust it more than anything else,” she told Marie Claire last year.
Later she went on to work for Pepsi. Today she’s a heavy weight at Apple Music who is clearly disrupting the usual flow of things in the most beautiful and exciting way. Bozoma Saint John is Beyond Classically Beautiful, and then some!