“I went to South Africa both before and after apartheid.”
Q. I know your perspective has had to change having traveled to so many countries. This list I’m looking at, it includes places like China, South Africa, Spain, Australia. Do any of the countries you’ve traveled to standout to you and why?
A. Well, Kazakhstan stands out because it’s very unique and many people haven’t gone there. Paris, people have gone there. They’ve seen it on TV. People are familiar with Paris. People are familiar with Rome, but Kazakhstan, they’re not familiar with. And also, people in Kazakhstan are not familiar with African Americans. When I got off the plane, people were asking for photos because they couldn’t believe I was black. When my husband and I went to China, they were asking for photos like crazy. I told my husband that they thought he was Michael Jordan and I was Beyoncé.
South Africa was amazing because of the history. I went to South Africa both before and after apartheid. During my visit before apartheid, I met a woman there who just wanted to speak. She told me she had sent her daughter to another country because she wanted her to come home and speak like me. That was a “wow” moment for me. This is before apartheid and I was there with Harvard Business School. We were interested in interviewing students to do an exchange program with Harvard Business School. So, I’m in a big conference room and the people that work there thought I was actually there working, not like I traveled there to do work with the school. The second time I went back, I was training there, and to hear the stories from people who lived there was mind blowing.