Naomi Osaka’s recipe for success: Caribbean Meld

Go Lean Commentary

There is actually a recipe for success on the world stage, one that has just been applied by tennis superstar Naomi Osaka in winning the 2018 US Open over fan-favorite Serena Williams. The recipe:

Meld Caribbean distinctiveness with that of other cultures.

Wait what?!

This sounds so familiar, even fictionalized! Those who are fans of the science fiction franchise Star Trek will remember the mantra of the cybernetic life form “The Borg”. Their announcement when attacking potential victims were as follows:

”We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” – Source

This is “Art imitating Life”! We see this recipe at work with this new sports champion and beneficiary of this international melding: Naomi Osaka.

She is a professional tennis player who represents Japan internationally. She is the first Japanese citizen to winGrand Slam singles tournament, defeating Serena Williams in the final of the 2018 US Open.[6] Osaka has reached a career-high world ranking of No. 7.[4] She was born to a Haitian father, Leonard “San” François, and a Japanese mother, Tamaki Osaka .[7]

This story, beyond its relevance to sports, has a Caribbean relevance because of Osaka’s parentage. The meld – noun/verb: blend – had produced an end-product that has accomplished more than any one component has accomplished on its own. Osaka is the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam event, and needless-to-say, the first Haitian.  It has not been easy:

In racially homogeneous Japan, Osaka is considered hāfu, which is Japanese for biracial.[10] Her Japanese grandfather was furious when he found out that her mother was romantically involved with a black man. As a result of the interracial relationship, her mother did not have contact with her family for over ten years.[8] In a 2016 interview, Osaka said: “When I go to Japan, people are confused. From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.”[11]Wikipedia

This biography provides a lesson-learned for the rest of the Caribbean, and the world for that matter:

  • To our Caribbean brothers and sisters, we entreat you to embrace pluralism; good things come from the embrace of our differences.
  • To the rest of world, we declare that the Caribbean identity is not “Less Than”. We bring a strength of character and ethos that adds value and elevates any community where we meld.

If we can successfully meld and conquer a challenge on the world stage, how much more so can we meld our distinctiveness here at home or in our regional neighborhood to accomplish greater feats. This is the message of the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean, which asserts that great Caribbean progress is in store when we meld – integrate, collaborate and confederate. The book – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states.

This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs. There are many industrial expressions that we will have to make in order to reach these goals, including the facilitation of the Art & Science of Sports.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The book stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxxi. Whereas sports have been a source of great pride for the Caribbean region, the economic returns from these ventures have not been evenly distributed as in other societies. The Federation must therefore facilitate the eco-systems and vertical industries of sports as a business, recreation, national pastime and even sports tourism …

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines for all member-states in the Caribbean region.

The story of Naomi Osaka is about more than just her heritage. She is an excellent athlete of her own making. It takes blood, sweat and tears to excel at the highest level of her sport. For Osaka to beat Serena Williams – earning $3.8 million – that was no fluke; that was the full measure of her athletic prowess; that was heavy-lifting. Even now, all the attention is on Serena losing, rather than Osaka winning; see the VIDEO here and the related story in the Appendix below:

VIDEO – US Open Highlights –

Published September 8, 2018 – Serena has mother of all meltdowns in US Open final loss.

Heavy-lifting in sports is a familiar theme for this Go Lean movement; we recognize that there could be more economic rewards if the regional stewards do a better job of facilitating a viable sports eco-system – we have few expressions of professional sports and no intercollegiate system in the region. We have previously elaborated on how the Art & Science of sports can be used to help elevate our societal engines. Re-consider these previous blog-commentaries: Creating a legacy in pro-Surfing Basketball Great and Caribbean Role Model: Tim Duncan Caribbean Track & Field Athletes monetize their talents “elsewhere” Caribbean Players in the World Cup Advocates and Revolutionaries for Caribbean Sports

So how can we foster more people in our Caribbean region to be like Naomi Osaka, people who can help to elevate our society and the global image of Caribbean contributions to the world? The Go Lean book addressed this question; within its 370-pages of instructions for impacting society, in the specific details for fostering more world-class athletes. Consider the summaries, excerpts and headlines from this one advocacy in the book on Page 229 entitled:

10 Ways to Improve Sports

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market
This will allow for the unification of the region of 30 member-states into a single market of 42 million people and a GDP exceeding $800 Billion (per 2010). This market size and multi-lingual realities allows for broadcasting rights with SAP-style language options for English, Spanish, French and Dutch. This makes the region attractive for media contracts for broadcast rights, spectrum auctions and sports marketing. The Olympics have demonstrated that sports can be profitable “big business”, and a great source of jobs and economic activity. The CU will copy the Olympic model, and harness the potential in many other sporting endeavors, so as to make the region a better place to live, work and play.
2 CU Games
Promote the CU Games, every 2 years, as the ascension of the CARIFTA Games for Amateur and now Professional Athletes. The CU Games Administration will also partner with all National Olympic Committees. This administration applies to feeder games, trials and qualification events. The ultimate goal is to field a world-class competitive Olympic Team representing the entire Caribbean. While the CARIFTA Games are for track-and-field events only, the CU Games will resemble a mini-Olympics with multi-sports (boxing, football/soccer, tennis, volleyball, sailing, baseball/softball, etc.)
3 Fairgrounds as Sport Venues
The CU Fairgrounds (managed by the Interior Department) will have the infrastructure to fund, build and maintain sports arenas and “stadiums” (stadia) in local markets. The mantra is “build it and they will come”, so the CU building and managing world-class sport facilities will result in a more organized industry and the emergence of vertical markets.
4 Regulate Amateur, Professional & Academically-Aligned Leagues
5 Establish Sports Academies
6 “Super” Amateur Sport Association
7 Regulator/Registrar of Scholar-Athletes – Assuage Abandonment
8 Sports Tourism
9 Professional Agents and Player Management Oversight (a la Bar/Lawyer Associations).
10 Impanel the CU Anti-Doping Agency

Congratulation Naomi Osaka!

… and thank you … for making it easier for us to impress on the world that Caribbean-anything is not “Less Than”. That argument is now easier to make.

It is now also easier to convey the message that “Yes, we can” forge a “pluralistic” democracy and make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – It’s shameful what US Open did to Naomi Osaka
Opinion by: Maureen Callahan

Naomi Osaka, 20 years old, just became the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam.

Yet rather than cheer Osaka, the crowd, the commentators and US Open officials all expressed shock and grief that Serena Williams lost.

Osaka spent what should have been her victory lap in tears. It had been her childhood dream to make it to the US Open and possibly play against Williams, her idol, in the final.

It’s hard to recall a more unsportsmanlike event.

Here was a young girl who pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever, who fought for every point she earned, ashamed.

At the awards ceremony, Osaka covered her face with her black visor and cried. The crowd booed her. Katrina Adams, chairman and president of the USTA, opened the awards ceremony by denigrating the winner and lionizing Williams — whose ego, if anything, needs piercing.

“Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today,” Adams said, “but Serena, you are a champion of all champions.” Addressing the crowd, Adams added, “This mama is a role model and respected by all.”

That’s not likely the case now, not after the world watched as Serena Williams had a series of epic meltdowns on the court, all sparked when the umpire warned her: No coaching from the side. Her coach was making visible hand signals.

“I don’t cheat to win,” Williams told him. “I’d rather lose.”

She couldn’t let it go, going back multiple times to berate the umpire. At one point she called him a thief.

“You stole a point from me!” she yelled.

After her loss, Williams’s coach admitted to ESPN that he had, in fact, been coaching from the stands, a code violation. The warning was fair.

Everything that followed is on Williams, who is no stranger to tantrums. Most famously, she was tossed from the US Open in 2009 after telling the line judge, “I swear to God I’ll take the f—king ball and shove it down your f—king throat.” John McEnroe was taken aback. Even Williams’s mother, Oracene Price, couldn’t defend her daughter’s outburst.

“She could have kept her cool,” Price said.

On Saturday, she also could have tried to be gracious in defeat. No matter how her fans try to spin this, Williams was anything but. Upon accepting her finalist award, she gave parsimonious praise to her competitor while telling the crowd she felt their pain.

“Let’s try to make this the best moment we can,” she said in part, “and we’ll get through it . . . let’s not boo anymore. We’re gonna get through this and let’s be positive, so congratulations, Naomi.”

Osaka accepted her trophy while choking back tears. She never smiled. When asked if her childhood dream of playing against Williams matched the reality, she politely sidestepped the question.

“I’m sorry,” Osaka said. “I know that everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this.”

She turned to Williams. “I’m really grateful I was able to play with you,” Osaka said. “Thank you.” She bowed her head to Williams, and Williams just took it — no reciprocation, no emotion.

Osaka, a young player at the beginning of her career, showed grit, determination and maturity on that court and off.

She earned that trophy. Let’s recall that this wasn’t Osaka’s first victory over Williams — she beat Williams back in March, causing a hiccup in that great comeback narrative.

Osaka earned her moment as victor at the US Open, one that should have been pure joy. If anything was stolen during this match, it was that.

Source: New York Post Newspaper – Posted September 8, 2018; retrieved September 12, 2018 from:

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  • Go Lean Caribbean says:

    So Louby Georges, why are you so proud of Naomi?

  • Louby Georges says:

    Why am I so proud of Naomi?

    We share a common background so there is some bias here.

    Naomi has never shied away from highlighting all that makes her who she is and how it all has helped her to get to where she is at today. Growing up in The Bahamas i have heard persons on many occasions say to persons like myself who were born to foreign parents that you “cant serve two masters” as if becoming Bahamian means giving up all ties to Haiti and our parents. The Bahamas and Haiti both played and continue to play major roles in who i am today and what I’ve been able to accomplish in my life so far.

    In Naomi’s case its Japan,Haiti and America. She is no less Japanese than her mother and no less Haitian than her father.
    She is a Japanese of both Haitian and Japanese decent just like I am a Bahamian of Haitian decent.

    Naomi earned her way to play on one of the world’s biggest stages and to play against the greatest female tennis player in history. Not only were her great skills and humility on display for the world to see but also her multicultural background. Hopefully through her more persons would realize that having a multicultural background in no way can be a negative but rather a positive attribute and that those individuals with their diverse backgrounds have so much to offer their country.

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