Are You Changing Depending On The Room You're In? | Dumi Oburota

Every week, we'll be sharing brilliant insights from our conference and podcast guests. From CEOs and senior leaders, to upcoming new talent and inspirational trailblazers, we'll be unlocking their wisdom on our blog.

This week, we're sharing thoughts from Dumi Oburota (Founder of Disturbing London Records) who featured on the Why Not Lead? Podcast and talked about the importance of knowing how to carry yourself in the best possible fashion, no matter the type of room you're in. 

Dumi Oburota has climbed up many ladders in his business career and that ladder has seen him enter many different kinds of rooms. Many of these rooms have been filled with different kinds of people in them and that has made Dumi understand the purpose of being ‘bilingual’. This means being able to speak and present yourself, according to the environment you’re in. This is an important thing for us to internalise, as many of us black professionals are in working in settings with people that do not look like us, or cannot relate to the type of experiences we commonly share as black people.


With that being the case, being bilingual is key and in that regard, being our best versions of ourselves means carrying ourselves in high regards so that no matter where we are, we do not ever feel the need to diminish ourselves like many black professionals have felt like they had been doing in certain work environments. I can speak for myself and admit that earlier in my work career, I have also felt like I’ve had to present a different version of myself in order to feel like I fit in the work settings. Over time I realised that it’s not about presenting a different version of myself, but it’s rather about me knowing how to present my authentic self in the best possible way.


Always know how to articulate yourself


Presenting your authentic self is essentially all about how you articulate yourself and how you communicate. No matter where you are - with your friends, with your family or with your work colleagues, how you communicate is important. However, you wouldn’t speak exactly the same in every setting due to the fact some settings are more formal or informal than others. With your friends you might speak in slang but with your family you might not. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t always aim to put yourself across well no matter your environment.


Once you learn how to speak for yourself then you can better navigate the types of rooms you will enter. That means, knowing how to put forward your points in a clear fashion, speaking well, being understandable and being conscious of the information you are sharing (or not sharing). In many settings you will be challenged, especially as you enter different rooms and are being forced to adapt to the type of people you are with. The more you know yourself and how you come across, the better you will be able to authentically put yourself across in the best kind of unapologetic fashion. 


The type of room is not important, always carry yourself as the best version of yourself


What Dumi Oburota wants us to know is that ultimately, when you look at your favourite rappers, they generally don’t speak in a different way to how they would in their musical environment, however they do speak eloquently when they are in certain settings such as in interviews. This is because they know that they hold value and due to that value, they feel more comfortable being their authentic selves. However knowing this, they do want to sell themselves and as a result do their best to carry themselves in a respectable and professional fashion in different kinds of settings.


All in all, you should always challenge yourself and understand that in certain rooms you may have to communicate and talk differently. Being bilingual doesn’t mean that you are putting yourself across as a different person where you are, it is simply being yourself but being able to put yourself across to different kinds of people in the best way. That is a key thing we should never forget on our journey of life. 

You can listen to the full episode with Dumi Oburota here:



Writer: Tonte Bo Douglas

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