Who are famous Black entrepreneurs? This article examines the careers of a few of the most notable entrepreneurs of our time. We’ll look at the likes of Madame C.J. Walker, Oprah Gail Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Robert S. Abbott. And we’ll also examine the contributions of women and minorities in technology. In addition to these notable women, Black entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the arts and entertainment industry.
Oprah Gail Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi. She attended a poor school and was employed by a radio station at six. She was sexually abused as a child and lived in a potato sack. She eventually became a talk show host, actress, and television producer and was named queen of the media. Her net worth is estimated to be $2.8 billion.
In 1999, Oprah Gail Winfrey co-founded Oxygen Media, including the Oxygen Network. The network premiered on February 2, 2000, and was purchased by NBCUniversal in November 2007 for $925 million. Oprah Gail Winfrey and famous Black entrepreneurs
Tyler Perry is a self-made billionaire filmmaker. He is best known for his films and random acts of kindness. Born Emmitt R. Perry Jr., Tyler changed his name at the age of 16 to avoid further embarrassment. Growing up, he suffered endless abuse and rejection. Eventually, he got a GED and became one of the most successful black producers in the United States.
After years of struggle, Tyler Perry finally achieved financial success and was officially recognized as a billionaire in September of 2020. Today, Tyler Perry owns a 133.5-acre Atlanta film studio, a stake in BET+, and many other businesses. He once lived in a car due to financial problems, but he has become one of the most successful black producers in the theater business. His latest project is a television show based on the life story of a legendary enslaved person, Madea.
Robert S. Abbott
While many of us think of successful people in business as merely having a big name and a successful business, Abbott was not only a successful entrepreneur but also an anti-racist, a man who was behind a newspaper called the Chicago Defender. However, his success was not an overnight one as he battled racial discrimination and was forced to pursue journalism. His book Anyplace But Here tells the story of Abbott’s journey.
Born in 1870, Robert S. Abbott attended Hampton Institute, a historically black college in Virginia. While at Hampton, he sang with the Hampton College Quartet and later studied law at Kent College of Law in Chicago. Because of racial prejudice, Abbott was not allowed to practice law. In 1898, Abbott converted his $25 investment into the Chicago Defender Newspaper, which became a literary domain of racial advancement. It also actively promoted the migration of Black Southerners to Chicago.
Madame C.J. Walker
In the 19th century, it was a time of change and transformation for American society, especially for African-Americans. The most successful African-American woman of the time, Madam C.J. Walker, was born on December 23, 1867, and raised as an enslaved person on a cotton plantation. After the Civil War, the family was freed and became sharecroppers.
After graduating from college, Walker worked as a commission agent for the Poro Company in Denver. Then, she married journalist Charles J. Walker and continued developing her products under her married name. The family sold their products door to door and traveled across the South and beyond. The Walkers also advertised their products nationally in black newspapers and through mail orders. As a result, Madam Walker’s business expanded throughout the United States and Canada, and by 1919, the company had 25,000 sales agents in the United States and abroad.
Born in northern Sudan, Mo Ibrahim was the second of five children. He moved with his family to Egypt when he was young and attended Alexandria University. After graduating, Mo worked for Sudan Telecom before moving to England to pursue higher education. He later earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mobile communications from the University of Birmingham.
As a technology whiz, Ibrahim saw the opportunity to develop mobile communications in Africa. But one major challenge was the negative perception of Africa. Because of the lack of infrastructure, the company’s first product, MSI, was only a consultancy. Ibrahim has also criticized corrupt governments and outside perspectives on Africa. As an example, he recently called out former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her recent comments regarding corruption.