Two Black Women Business Titans Just Bought This Global Beauty Brand

Black Opal, a global beauty brand that has long catered to women of color, is now black-owned. The company announced Monday that former White House Social Secretary Desiree G. Rogers and sales and marketing expert Cheryl Mayberry McKissack acquired the 25-year-old skincare and makeup line. However, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1994, Black Opal uses advanced technology and science to create specific products for women with melanated skin. The line also addresses common issues for people with darker skin, such as hyperpigmentation, brightness, and enlarged pores. The brand was originally created by a chemist for his wife due to the lack of product options in the beauty industry at the time. The founder worked closely with an African American dermatologist to develop products specifically formulated for melanated skin.

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers (Courtesy of Black Opal)

Despite being under new ownership, Mayberry McKissack said the brand will uphold its founder’s fundamental values. “When we acquired Black Opal our goal was to stay true to the founders’ passion,” she said in a statement.

Mayberry McKissack, who is now president of Black Opal, also said that she and Rogers plan “to continue to grow the company and bring high-quality products to the market.” She added that another focus will be to “on creating a positive impact in our communities.”

Rogers, who will operate as Black Opal’s CEO, said that they are “delighted to own Black Opal, a company created almost three decades ago, to address the makeup needs for people of color.” She went on, saying, “Together Cheryl and I are looking forward to creating even more innovative products and continuing to grow the brand globally.”

Desiree G. Rogers

Most recently, Rogers served as CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., overseeing Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Jet, and Ebony magazines, until June 2017. In 2008, President Barack Obama appointed Rogers as the first African American White House Social Secretary. In 2006, Rogers was named as one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Women in Business” by BLACK ENTERPRISE. At the time, she served as Corporate SVP of Peoples Energy Corp. and president of Peoples Gas & North Shore Gas, where she was responsible for overseeing field operations, customer service functions, and gas supply management for the billion-dollar utility company.

Meanwhile, Mayberry McKissack has nearly two decades of experience as the president and CEO of Nia Enterprises, a marketing, entrepreneurial business, and digital consulting firm she founded in 2000. She served as the CEO for Ebony Media Operations for a year after the print and digital media portfolio was acquired by a private equity firm. Prior to that, she was named COO and President of Digital at Johnson Publishing Co. in 2013. The Chicago-based business leader currently sits on the boards at the University of Chicago Medical Center and Deluxe Corp, where she was recently appointed as chair. She and Rogers met over 25 years ago through mutual friends.

(Courtesy of Black Opal)

The Black Opal collection, which features over 250 skincare and makeup products, is currently sold in select retail stores and available online at