B.E. 40th ANNIVERSARY COVER GALLERY

nd-1993-NOVEMBER

When Johnson Products Co., the haircare products company known for Ultra Sheen and Gentle Treatment, was sold to majority-owned conglomerate IVAX Corp in a deal valued at $67 million, it created a firestorm of protest in the African American communities. The furor led to our editors developing the November 1993 cover story, “Should Black Businesses Be Sold To Whites?” The article stated that “the sale challenges our understanding of economic empowerment: Are blacks who sell their businesses to whites savvy entrepreneurs or sell-outs?” Even though two decades later a number of such divestitures have given black entrepreneurs access to capital for expansions and acquisition, the practice continues to rankle many who believe black institutions should be preserved at all cost.

When Johnson Products Co., the haircare products company known for Ultra Sheen and Gentle Treatment,…