Mufasa Ali's Leather Leadership Conference 2018 Keynote Address - The Leather Journal

Mufasa Ali's Leather Leadership Conference 2018 Keynote Address

 

 

By Mufasa Ali
Thank you to the LLC Board for trusting me with this auspicious occasion to share, to my husband in his absence, boi Optimus and the Mufasa’s Pride Family, to the National Council of ONYX and all my ONYX family, to my Leather Preservation History Weekend Board members, to all my Leather Community and to His Eminence T’Chala always in my soul ….Wakanda Forever!

 

I’d like to start off with a story!

The story is told about a lion...and this lion was very proud of his leadership over the animal kingdom. One day he decided to make sure all the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he by passed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear.

"Who is the king of the jungle?" the lion asked. The bear replied, "Why, you are, of course." And the lion gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The tiger quickly responded, "Everyone knows that you are, oh mighty lion."

Next on the list was the elephant. The lion faced the elephant and asked the question: "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk...whirled him around in the air five or six times...and slammed him into a tree.

Then he pounded him onto the ground several times...dunked him under water in a nearby lake...and finally threw him up on the shore. The lion beaten, bruised, and battered, struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant through sad, bloodied eyes and said, "Look, just because you don't know the answer is no reason to get mean about it!"

Speaking of elephants. Did anyone happen to see one of the Dorrito’s Superbowl commercials? It’s the one in the lunch or break room where an employee sits eating his lunch with a bag of Dorritos’s on the table in front of him. A co-worker tries to take a chip and an elephant standing next to the person eating lunch slaps the chip out of her hand with it’s trunk. The same thing happens to another co-worker and the third co-worker actually gets knocked off of his feet as they try to help themselves to a chip. Then one co-worker asks the first whether he’s going to address the situation, namely being the elephant in the room, and he responds…..Nope?

But I am here to address an elephant in our Leather community. Many of us read a post and comment or share that post without confirming facts or questions or performing further investigation and cause wildfires and mistrust among people. The internet does not feel empathy and posts don’t investigate.

Growth and great leadership decisions can’t be made in a blind rage!

Well, what is that particular elephant in the room that finds me here!

Was it my youthful good looks that all are envious about!?

Was it my 21-year relationship status that many aspire to?

Was it my great prowess at impact play that a number of folk ogle over?

No, it was a blurb about a class discussing leadership styles of historic figures, taught by well-known and well respected professional in our community, that was canceled due to an internet wildfire. This is a leadership conference I am told, correct! Do I dare mouth the names of MLK, Hitler, Ghandi, Trump, Obama, Ghengis Khan, Harriet Tubman, Steve Jobs, Marie Antoinette, Chuck Renslow, Idi Amin, Anita Bryant, Vi Johnson, Malcolm X…..at a leadership conference!

Am I bothered by this list? No, I’m not! It’s just a list. But when asked to separate the list into good and bad leadership styles, I can. And learn from it. Some led people to more freedom and self-assurance and some led people to death and destruction!

Today, in a troubled world of political and religious leaders, I believe it is more important than ever to understand the underlying psychology of such dangerous individuals. Often gifted with the ability to influence and motivate the masses through the power of oration and messianic vision, such leaders become the "incarnation of the crowd's unspoken needs and cravings." At the same time, they are not merely false prophets, but, even more perniciously, the very embodiment of evil.

Learning, inquiry and being reminded of good v destructive leadership styles is fundamental to being a positive effect on growth within our diverse leather community and especially the next generation of leaders.

For the Leather community, inquiry is elicited by faith in evolving community rather than being an attempt to arrive at certainty apart from community. Not “I seek certainty by doubting everything but my own existence,” but “because community has shown love and acceptance to us, therefore we inquire.” If we believe in the power of community, we must expect that our old ways of thinking and living will be continually shaken to the foundations. If we believe in community we will have to continue to become seekers and pioneers with no permanent residence. We will no longer be satisfied with the unexamined beliefs and practices of our Leather community. If we believe in community, we will necessarily question the intersectionalities that fight for our attention and allegiance. Our Leather community is a thinking, radical, loving, breathing organism.

As long as our Leather community remains seekers of radical inclusion, we will continue to raise questions, for which we will always not find easy answers. We may even find a new set of questions. We must courageously pursue these questions, not suppress them. Our Leather community ceases to be community not when we don’t have all the answers, but when we no longer have the courage and tenacity to ask the important questions! Fear is not an option as we pursue our growth, seeking to continue community vitality.

There are important Questions being asked by members of our Leather tribe. For example:

Who is the next generation in my local community? How can I help further their experience?

Who are the faces and groups that are not at the table?

How comfortable were certain community members at the last Munch?

How does my trans brother or sister experience the community?

Why do I feel uncomfortable at a mainly POC event?

Who is the other in my local community?

Where are the next generation leaders in my community?

What does growth look like to the members of our community?

We can’t fear these questions that may take us down roads we have not traveled before, that may disrupt our current thinking and living in leather. But if we don’t tackle them we will thwart our own progress and imprison the community to become boring, stagnant and ultimately non-existent. Change is good, change is inevitable, change can be hard but change got us to where the leather community is today……Shift happens!

The time is now to engage each other, our strength depends upon it. Inclusion of new ideas and new blood is vital to our survival. Great leadership requires us to:

Be Honest!

Be Inspired!

Be transparent!

Be Committed!

Be Accountable!

Be Fair!

Be Empathetic!

Be Radically Inclusive!

When asked the question of why I envisioned and founded ONYX! I often answer, Why not, POC matter! Fear was not an option!

There is strength, trust, courage, tenacity, freedom, love, pain, pleasure, and family in our village called Leather and I’m glad that I set up residence! Are you?


By Mufasa Ali
Thank you to the LLC Board for trusting me with this auspicious occasion to share, to my husband in his absence, boi Optimus and the Mufasa’s Pride Family, to the National Council of ONYX and all my ONYX family, to my Leather Preservation History Weekend Board members, to all my Leather Community and to His Eminence T’Chala always in my soul ….Wakanda Forever!

I’d like to start off with a story!

The story is told about a lion...and this lion was very proud of his leadership over the animal kingdom. One day he decided to make sure all the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he by passed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear.

"Who is the king of the jungle?" the lion asked. The bear replied, "Why, you are, of course." And the lion gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The tiger quickly responded, "Everyone knows that you are, oh mighty lion."

Next on the list was the elephant. The lion faced the elephant and asked the question: "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk...whirled him around in the air five or six times...and slammed him into a tree.

Then he pounded him onto the ground several times...dunked him under water in a nearby lake...and finally threw him up on the shore. The lion beaten, bruised, and battered, struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant through sad, bloodied eyes and said, "Look, just because you don't know the answer is no reason to get mean about it!"

Speaking of elephants. Did anyone happen to see one of the Dorrito’s Superbowl commercials? It’s the one in the lunch or break room where an employee sits eating his lunch with a bag of Dorritos’s on the table in front of him. A co-worker tries to take a chip and an elephant standing next to the person eating lunch slaps the chip out of her hand with it’s trunk. The same thing happens to another co-worker and the third co-worker actually gets knocked off of his feet as they try to help themselves to a chip. Then one co-worker asks the first whether he’s going to address the situation, namely being the elephant in the room, and he responds…..Nope?

But I am here to address an elephant in our Leather community. Many of us read a post and comment or share that post without confirming facts or questions or performing further investigation and cause wildfires and mistrust among people. The internet does not feel empathy and posts don’t investigate.

Growth and great leadership decisions can’t be made in a blind rage!

Well, what is that particular elephant in the room that finds me here!

Was it my youthful good looks that all are envious about!?

Was it my 21-year relationship status that many aspire to?

Was it my great prowess at impact play that a number of folk ogle over?

No, it was a blurb about a class discussing leadership styles of historic figures, taught by well-known and well respected professional in our community, that was canceled due to an internet wildfire. This is a leadership conference I am told, correct! Do I dare mouth the names of MLK, Hitler, Ghandi, Trump, Obama, Ghengis Khan, Harriet Tubman, Steve Jobs, Marie Antoinette, Chuck Renslow, Idi Amin, Anita Bryant, Vi Johnson, Malcolm X…..at a leadership conference!

Am I bothered by this list? No, I’m not! It’s just a list. But when asked to separate the list into good and bad leadership styles, I can. And learn from it. Some led people to more freedom and self-assurance and some led people to death and destruction!

Today, in a troubled world of political and religious leaders, I believe it is more important than ever to understand the underlying psychology of such dangerous individuals. Often gifted with the ability to influence and motivate the masses through the power of oration and messianic vision, such leaders become the "incarnation of the crowd's unspoken needs and cravings." At the same time, they are not merely false prophets, but, even more perniciously, the very embodiment of evil.

Learning, inquiry and being reminded of good v destructive leadership styles is fundamental to being a positive effect on growth within our diverse leather community and especially the next generation of leaders.

For the Leather community, inquiry is elicited by faith in evolving community rather than being an attempt to arrive at certainty apart from community. Not “I seek certainty by doubting everything but my own existence,” but “because community has shown love and acceptance to us, therefore we inquire.” If we believe in the power of community, we must expect that our old ways of thinking and living will be continually shaken to the foundations. If we believe in community we will have to continue to become seekers and pioneers with no permanent residence. We will no longer be satisfied with the unexamined beliefs and practices of our Leather community. If we believe in community, we will necessarily question the intersectionalities that fight for our attention and allegiance. Our Leather community is a thinking, radical, loving, breathing organism.

As long as our Leather community remains seekers of radical inclusion, we will continue to raise questions, for which we will always not find easy answers. We may even find a new set of questions. We must courageously pursue these questions, not suppress them. Our Leather community ceases to be community not when we don’t have all the answers, but when we no longer have the courage and tenacity to ask the important questions! Fear is not an option as we pursue our growth, seeking to continue community vitality.

There are important Questions being asked by members of our Leather tribe. For example:

Who is the next generation in my local community? How can I help further their experience?

Who are the faces and groups that are not at the table?

How comfortable were certain community members at the last Munch?

How does my trans brother or sister experience the community?

Why do I feel uncomfortable at a mainly POC event?

Who is the other in my local community?

Where are the next generation leaders in my community?

What does growth look like to the members of our community?

We can’t fear these questions that may take us down roads we have not traveled before, that may disrupt our current thinking and living in leather. But if we don’t tackle them we will thwart our own progress and imprison the community to become boring, stagnant and ultimately non-existent. Change is good, change is inevitable, change can be hard but change got us to where the leather community is today……Shift happens!

The time is now to engage each other, our strength depends upon it. Inclusion of new ideas and new blood is vital to our survival. Great leadership requires us to:

Be Honest!

Be Inspired!

Be transparent!

Be Committed!

Be Accountable!

Be Fair!

Be Empathetic!

Be Radically Inclusive!

When asked the question of why I envisioned and founded ONYX! I often answer, Why not, POC matter! Fear was not an option!

There is strength, trust, courage, tenacity, freedom, love, pain, pleasure, and family in our village called Leather and I’m glad that I set up residence! Are you?

 

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