10 Black Business Power Couples In Black History - Page 8 of 10

10 Black Business Power Couples In Black History

  • Robert L. and Sheila Johnson: Black Entertainment Television (BET). Robert and Sheila Johnson co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1979, the first cable network targeting an African American market. BET officially launched in 1980, initially broadcasting for two hours a week. Nearly a decade later in 1989, Sheila abandoned her music business to join BET full time as head of community relations; she also developed and produced the talk show, Teen Summit.  BET continued to grow, reaching tens of millions of homes and expanding to include other traditional and digital channels. It was among the first black-controlled companies to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. Two years before their divorce, Viacom announced plans to purchase BET in 2000, finalizing the sale a year later for reportedly $3 billion. Bob remained as BET’s chairman and CEO until 2006 before leaving launch the RLJ Companies. Today, both Johnsons are billionaires, ranking among the wealthiest African-Americans in America.

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