Boyz II Men, Oprah, and a trip to Cape Town! All that and more as Edelman Vice President of Multicultural Dani Jackson-Smith stops by for a round of Five Questions with Screen…
SCREEN: What has been your favorite “stay-at-home” activity over the past few months?
DANI: Over the past few months my favorite “stay-at-home” activity has been spending time in my backyard with my dog King and teaching him tricks. He is a young shepherd/pit-bull mix that is full of life and love.
DANI: If you could be a member of any band/musical group in music history, what would it be?
SCREEN: I’d either choose to reenter the world as a man and join Boyz II Men or I’d opt to not be a part of a group and receive tutelage under Quincy Jones. I loved every Boyz II Men album and they epitomize 90s R&B for me. Quincy is the yoda of the music industry so of course that is a no brainer.
Take yourself back to the 90’s and enjoy the Boyz II Men hit “Motownphilly” here:
SCREEN: If you could appoint ANYONE to be President of the United States, who would it be?
DANI: I’d appoint Michelle Obama or Oprah as the President of the United States. As a matter of fact, in a perfect world, Michelle would be the president and Oprah would be her VP. I believe they are two women that care deeply for the well-being of humanity and are true leaders at every level.
SCREEN: What’s inspiring you today?
DANI: People are inspiring me today. We do not live in a perfect world but the people that are leading at the high profile and grassroots levels to dismantle systemic racism and injustice inspire me. We are in a moment where we are present to the fact that words are not enough. I’m inspired by our collective actions to create the change that we want to see and deserve.
SCREEN: What’s your favorite international city? What is one place we gotta visit when we go?
DANI: I truly enjoy South Africa and so far I have been to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. When I travel internationally, I make a point to buy from local companies and engage in experiences that are owned the people of the land as much as I can. My intention when traveling is to make space to learn as well as have fun.
There is so much to see in South Africa but if you go to Cape Town, I recommend that you take a tour with Siviwe Tours to experience Langa, Cape Town’s oldest black township. Siviwe Tours is owned and operated by my friend and local Langa native, Siviwe Mbinda.
Here is more about Siviwe and his entrepreneurial and philanthropic work in South Africa:
SCREEN: What is one thing you will be doing differently in 2021?
DANI: In 2021, I am going to be more intentional about securing time for self-care. Working from home, it is very easy to fall into working from sun up to sun down. I’ve started my yoga. I have my crystals, incense, oils and candles. I’m committed to having more integrity around the things that restore my mind, body and spirit.
SCREEN: Worst decision you made in college?
DANI: The worst decision that I made in college was not really leaning into or prioritizing my music classes. I took one piano class and it was bringing down my GPA so I put that to the side. I was a part of the UI Jazz Band and that was phenomenal. I think at the time, I believed that my time was best served on things that would lead to money rather than my love for music.
SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given?
DANI: The best advice that I have been given is “Don’t be afraid to step into your greatness.” Too often, we humans that are women, diverse, youth, elders, LGBTQ, etc. downplay or ignore our greatness and call it humility. When in actuality it is fear or not understanding that we are worthy of the shine.