She was exiled from her fatherland in 1980 as a child in primary school without much to her name at the time. Now she is back and better, with a clear vision and passion to reform her society and leave a lasting legacy.
Barkue Tubman is a mighty inspiration to Africans everywhere; her life speaks of determination, courage and faith in a cause that she has grown to love.
She continued her education in the US, studying at the United Nations International School in New York and The Hun School of Princeton, before proceeding to Elon University in North Carolina. There, she found her passion and grew her interest in the entertainment industry, and found opportunities to work in the promotion and management of prominent artists such as Usher, Queen Latifah, Macy Gray and Outkast. That for her, was a dream come true and a step in the right direction.
1999 presented a big break for the princess and with the artist management industry experience she had gained through the years, she launched her own company, Miss Boss Lady Entertainment (MBL). A name she chose as a reference to her Liberian roots. “In Liberia… the head of the household or a woman leader is often referred to as a ‘boss lady’,” she explained.
Eventhough Tubman had gained a good footing in the US, yet her heart was still drawn to Liberia, and her immediate family. And so, she made regular visits, especially to spend some time with her dear mother. But in the mid-2000’s she took a final decision to return to Liberia permanently, when her mother suffered a stroke.
“So that was the first thing that happened that got me thinking about how I can structure my life to spend more time with my family in Liberia – specifically my mother… It was just an eye opener that you can’t take things for granted and you have to start looking at what is really important in life, which is first and foremost always family.” She says in an interview with How we Made it I Africa.
Tubman had the final push that would eventually become life transforming, not just for her, but for many other Liberians when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a reputable politician who served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert before the coup was elected President of Liberia in 2005, making her, Africa’s first elected woman head of state.
That turn of events hugely changed Tubman’s perception of her country and got her thinking of ways she can contribute constructively to get the country back on her feet.
“I visited Liberia right after she had been elected… There was this major sense of hope amongst the people of Liberia, and also this excitement to see a female head of state.”
Soon after, she officially relocated to Liberia and expanded Miss Boss Lady Entertainment International to the country. Today the marketing company mostly works with clients in Liberia and the US, with some in other West African countries. Clients include the Office of the President of Liberia, Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, United Bank of Africa and the National Oil Company of Liberia.
Tubman saw hope and great opportunities were many saw dryness. To her, Liberia was like a blank canvass, yet full of potentials where she could create the amazing.
“And as an entrepreneur you can actually do whatever you want. You can create industries and build whatever you want in an environment like this.”
But then, in her entrepreneurial sojourn, she met one of her biggest challenges which was the fact that people didn’t exactly understand her business offerings, as they were still some of the most untapped areas of business in Liberia at the time. There was virtually no local industry in Liberia, unlike in the neighbouring countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where such services were greatly valued.
However, Tubman believes that a whole lot is changing positively in Liberia’s business sector and soon, the industries will grow alongside the private sector. “I honestly believe this will be the case, but we have to work as a country to encourage more private sector investors to come in.”
Her advice to Africans in the diaspora is simple and straightforward; “Come with an open mind,”
Barkue Tubman is the granddaughter of William Tubman, who was the president of Liberia from 1944 until his death in 1971 and was succeeded by the vice president William Tolbert Jr, who was assassinated in 1980 during a military coup.
The power lady is casting her seeds in season and impacting her society.
What makes this Amazon stand out?
- Her ability to look beyond her immediate challenges and see great opportunities where many people see only defeat.
- The desire to make impact and contribute to the well-being of her country and brethren.
- Her resilience and determination to engender change and leave a lasting legacy.