The famous black entrepreneurs of America have changed the way we do business. From innovative products to brand new companies, these entrepreneurs have changed the world for the better. An entrepreneur is simply someone who undertakes a business venture and assumes a significant amount of risk tied to the success or failure of the venture. Entrepreneurship has several benefits, including the ability to set your own work schedule, choose your own team of colleagues, work on projects that interest you and generate an income in line with your skills and abilities.
Famous Black Entrepreneurs
George Foreman used his success as a heavyweight boxer to earn close to $200 million promoting the George Foreman grill. Foreman triumphed over Muhammad Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight of 1974. He also won an Olympic gold medal in boxing and became the world heavyweight champion in 1973. George Foreman has his own clothing line called the George Foreman Signature Collection and a cleaning product line known as George Foreman's Knock-Out. Foreman runs George Foreman Productions, Inc. and earns his money with product endorsements and licensing opportunities.
Bryan Williams, known as "Birdman" in the music industry, founded Cash Money Records with his brother. In just seven years, Williams signed a contract worth $30 million with Universal, allowing the company to generate revenue in the form of royalties and the sales of recording masters. This deal allowed artists such as Big Tymers, Turk and B.G. to produce and distribute successful albums. Williams and his brother are both multi-millionaires and act as co-CEOs of Cash Money Records.
Perhaps one of the most famous black entrepreneurs in the United States, Oprah Winfrey has a large group of followers all across America. Oprah rose to fame as the host of Oprah, a talk show addressing relationships, health and wellness, finance and women's issues. As her success grew, Oprah started her own magazine and her own book club. Publishers even coined the term the "Oprah effect" to describe the effect of Oprah's book club on book sales. Oprah is the only black female billionaire in the world. She serves as the chairman of Harpo Films, Harpo Video, Harpo Print, Harpo Productions and Harpo, Inc.
Iman Abdulmajid enjoyed a successful career as a model and later started a cosmetics company called IMAN Cosmetics. Her company filled a niche by offering makeup and skin care products especially for women of color. After 10 years of successful operations, Iman signed a contract with Procter & Gamble to distribute her cosmetic and skin care products internationally. Iman uses some of her wealth to support charities that work to reduce hunger and better the lives of children.
Shawn Carter, more commonly known as Jay-Z, is one of the famous black entrepreneurs known for his work in the music industry. At the age of 41, Carter was appointed as the chief executive officer of Def Jam/Roc-a-fella Records. He also founded a clothing line called Rocawear, has his own line of shoes with Reebok and is a part owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. Another one of his entrepreneurial ventures is a club called the 40/40 club, with locations in Las Vegas, New York City and Atlantic City.
Many people know Tyra Banks as the host of a somewhat controversial talk show. Banks is also the president of a production company called Bankable Productions. Trya worked as a supermodel and saw success as the first black model used in a cover shoot for GQ magazine. She also appeared in the popular Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Bankable Productions developed two hit shows, America's Next Top Model and The Tyra Bank Show. America's Next Top Model sparked a series of similar shows designed to take a group of contestants and select one winner.
A list of black entrepreneurs who have gained fame would not be complete without Tyler Perry. Perry is the president of Tyler Perry Studios, also known as the Tyler Perry Company, Inc. He also works as a film, television and theater actor. Perry's success story is an inspirational one. He once had to live in his car because of financial difficulties and later became the most successful black producer of theater and movie productions. Perry developed a successful series of movies based on the character of Madea, produces Tyler Perry's House of Payme and wrote a book titled "Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Life and Love." The book took the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list the week of its debut.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson rose to fame as a basketball player, but now spends his time as the CEO and chairman of Magic Johnson Enterprises. His company owns franchise of several successful businesses including Burger King, Starbucks and T.G.I. Friday's. One of Johnson's goals is to provide services to communities that are traditionally underserved by such businesses. As a result, Johnson's company has created jobs in these areas and created black managers, presidents and vice presidents.
Jermaine Dupri rose to fame as a producer for the group Kriss Kross. He used his success as a songwriter and producer to started a record label called So So Def. Working with artists like Jagged Edge and Lil Bow Wow, Dupri started this company in 1992. With the success of So So Def, artists sought Dupri out to produce their music. He has done production work for popular artists like Mariah Carey, Usher and Janet Jackson. Dupri also owns a vodka distilling company, acts as president of Virgin Records Urban Music and manages athletes with a company called So So Def Sports.