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How BET's Co-Founder Sheila C. Johnson Became America's First Black-Woman Billionaire, Owner Of 3 Professional Sports Teams, And A Real Estate Mogul

Remember when Beyoncé danced to O.T. Genasis’ hit song “Everybody Mad”? She had the entire “Coachella” audience screaming the iconic line, “I been getting to the money.” Although this is on brand for the Houston, TX, native, a long history of successful Black women can say the same thing about success. This is where Sheila C. Johnson enters the chat. Johnson is the first Black woman to become a billionaire, and her journey toward that fortune is just as fascinating as it is history-making. Born in 1949 and originally from McKeesport, PA — Johnson had a father who was a prominent neurosurgeon and a mother who was an accountant, per Black Past. Both career successes would prove to be a marker for Johnson’s accomplishments throughout her life. According to a Forbes profile, her parents enrolled her in an all-white Kentucky elementary school before desegregation. As a student, she pursued a love for music, becoming a concert violinist during high school. Johnson’s love for music would...

Josh Rodgers

Feb 12, 2024

These Are The Richest Self-Made Black Women In America Of 2021, And We Stan Them All

When we talk about the richest self-made Black women in the world, we understand that it’s a lot more nuanced than people think it is. Certainly, things like the racial wealth gap, lack of opportunity, and racism must all be made a part of the equation — because while white women will face sexism, non-white women will face racism and sexism in their quest for wealth. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no such thing as self-made Black women. In fact, as three self-made Black millionaires recently told Business Insider, generational wealth isn’t the only determining factor in “making a millionaire.” Things like a great work ethic, taking risks, and building a strong network are all an integral part of becoming wealthy (not just “rich”). “Building wealth doesn’t have to be complicated,” said financial coach April Stewart, to the outlet. “You don’t have to be a real estate investor. People jump to the ‘advanced’ because they think it will fast-track them. You just have to do the...

Meet Sheila C. Johnson, the First Black Woman to Reach a Billion-Dollar Net Worth

We hear stories about Black women millionaires and business leaders but rarely do we get a chance to know the origin stories of Black women billionaires like Sheila C. Johnson — co-founder of BET and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts — who was able to build up her fortune as a trailblazer in business. Born in Pennsylvania to George P. Crump — a neurosurgeon — and Marie Iris Crump — an accountant — and raised in Maywood, Illinois, Johnson grew up to graduate from Proviso East High School in Chicago. She later attended the University of Illinois obtaining a B.A. degree in music. As an accomplished violinist, co-founder of a popular cable network, co-owner of professional sports franchises, CEO of a chain of hotels and resorts, Johnson has amassed quite an accomplished resume all while triumphing some remarkable feats in the industry. Her billionaire mindset didn’t come until later in her career, but Johnson credits her skills as a violinist with shaping her path in business....

Njera Perkins

Aug 11, 2020

8 Businesses You Didn't Know Were Black-Owned But Should Support Now

As a result of the overt racial injustice in the U.S., a major push to #BuyBlack has gained fresh energy. The news cycle is on overdrive with Black businesses you should support. While there have been several lists of Black-owned businesses to pop up across Instagram and Twitter, there are some forgotten companies that have a Black founder at the helm unknowingly. Some owners are just super low-key while some brands boast such diverse and inclusive marketing that it’s easy to miss whose in charge. Here are eight well-known beauty, fashion, and food businesses that you didn’t know were Black-owned. Briogeo Hair Care Often seen while scrolling through the Sephora app or YouTube hair tutorials, Briogeo is a clean-ingredient collection founded by Nancy Twine. The daughter of a chemist, Twine learned to make beauty products from scratch at a young age. Later, the University of Virginia alumna used that knowledge combined with her finance degree to launch a customizable line for several...

Niki McGloster

Jun 16, 2020

Meet Some of the Richest Black Women in the World

Who runs the world? Black women run the world. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we want to highlight Black women who have been able to break through glass ceilings and find success in financial mobility. These eight women created a seat at their own table becoming independent businesswomen. Get to know some of the richest Black women in the world below: Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion) Steve Jennings/Getty Images Media mogul and billionaire Oprah Winfrey built her wealth from the ground up. Her courageous strides in the television industry helped her create a successful media empire that has jumpstarted the careers of hundreds of actors, directors, and producers, according to Forbes . She earned the title as the first Black female billionaire and still reigns supreme as one of the richest Black women in the world. Folorunsho Alakija ($1.7 billion) Twitter / @ROSGMI Meet billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist, Folorunsho Alakija , overseer of several business ventures such...

Njera Perkins

Mar 8, 2020