Dami Ajilore - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com
About Damilola: Damilola Ajilore is an MBA graduate in Strategic Marketing from McMaster University with a background in banking, Accounting and IT. She currently runs the Dudunorth website as CEO where she showcases the talents and skills of African people and those with African descent within North America. I do this to encourage and inspire as many people as possible to do something and develop a solid identity based off the stories and experiences of others.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? On a personal note, with me what you see is what you get, provided you are able to look deep enough. I am an incredibly easy person to understand. I am an extrovert by nature and passionate about people. One of my passions is acting. I recently participated in the Afrinolly short film competition and won second place.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated? I am inspired by my life experiences and the lessons learnt from interactions with others and their personal stories. My motivation comes from my vision and my faith. Having an end goal keeps me focused and having faith allows me to enjoy the journey to the goal, making room for changes in the original blueprint.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect? To be honest with you, I have not started anything yet. What you see is a foundation being built. If I were building a 59-story building, the bricks to lay the first floor haven’t even been purchased yet. Getting to this stage is attributed to three main factors, my family, my circumstance and a conversation with a friend two years ago. You should expect something; even I have not begun to think about. I assume it’s bigger than me.
What would you like to be remembered for? I would like to be remembered for the lives that I impact.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure? This is simple! Picking ambitious and good friends allows us to understand and motivate each other. By doing this, hanging around with friends that are on the same page as you creates good leisure. That takes care of balancing friends and leisure. Work is work! Accepting that work would last from nine till five makes it easy to do other things. I only take on jobs that I can leave at work. Once I turn away from the doors of the office, a new life begins. Family? Being far away from my family, I stay in touch by communicating at least three times a week, even if it’s just for 30 minutes and sometime in the year we try to organize a visit for two weeks. Sometimes it may not be easy, but it is very simple to balance these four.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie? My favourite book till date is the Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers. For my favourite food, anyone of my friends would tell you its pancakes. I’ll tell you my favourite genre is gospel but if you’re asking about a specific song, it changes too quickly. As of right now, 11:07am on July 17th, 2013, my favourite song is “Heaven Have Your Way” by Kevin LeVar. Movies, I love movies. I won’t watch horror or thriller or true stories. Pretty much anything that would make me cry out of sadness or fear, I run from. I’m a romantic comedy type of girl but I do branch out to reasonably dramatic movies. My favourite movie is “Now You See Me” and I’d recommend that to any movie lover out there. It’s a must watch!
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada? Being a black person in Canada varies from city to city. Being black in Windsor was different from being black in London and Toronto. I prefer not to engage in segregating people by race and color but the truth is, it seems quite a huge population is highly involved in racial profiling. In Windsor and London, my physical features as a black person were usually topics of discussion. In Windsor, I even had a customer at work choose to wait in line for me specifically to serve her because she wanted to discuss one of my features as a black person. In London, the story was similar as I was reminded of color and features but in Toronto, because of the diverse population, color or race seem to go unnoticed/ignored. In essence, although those I met in Windsor or London, did not cause any harm by complimenting or discussing “black features” with me, I was reminded that I was different and with this in mind, I worked hard at my job, in efforts to break the “black stereotype”. Regarding solutions to challenges in being black...ignore color, ignore race, work hard and do what you need to do as an individual and not as a color. It’s high time, we start changing the general perception of black people and give it a more positive stereotype, if there needs to be one at all.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada? In places like Toronto, there is a huge sense of community, which is something we should pride ourselves in. Although this is a touchy subject, I believe the black community can do more for themselves and their community.
Do Blacks support black music, events and businesses? This is subjective and relative to the areas of interest, targeted demographic and various other factors. If we do good, we get supported and if we don’t do enough, well no one knows so they are unable to support.
Some claim we have musical artists in Canada that are as good or better than those in the U.S.? Yes, Toronto is quickly becoming a hotspot for fresh music. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to gain recognition, but this does not mean that talented musical artists are nonexistent in Canada.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Artists? I know a few but if I had to choose, I’ll say Kaleb Simmonds.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada? Black History is fairly respected in Canada. The passion that many black Canadians have for black history, I find is geared towards black history in the U.S, which seems odd. My understanding is that we may not have come to a full understanding of the achievements of Blacks in Canadian history.
Connect with Damilola on social media:
Twitter - @dudunorth