Must-Reads For New Year’s: Catch Up on Our BE 100s Great Moments in Black Business

Must-Reads For New Year’s: Catch Up on Our BE 100s Great Moments in Black Business

(Image: iStock/oneinchpunch)

Ever wanted to know why the BE 100s—our nation’s largest black-owned businesses—became the barometer for black business achievement? As part of our 45th anniversary celebration—which started with the 2017 May/June issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE—our editors developed an powerful web series that is as much about the seminal moments of these intrepid entrepreneurs and iconic companies as analysis of the economic development, financial advancement, and social movement of African Americans over the past four decades. As such, this collection of stories serves to inform the potential impact of contemporary black entrepreneurship, offering ideas, guidance and cautionary tales for our current generation of millennial empire builders.

So kick off your New Year with these must-reads of entrepreneurial derring-do before we wind down our countdown over the next several weeks. Go to our 45 Great Moments Archives or check out some of the riveting milestones below. Guaranteed you don’t want to miss out on why the BE 100s remains BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s most enduring franchise.

2016: The #BankBlack movement sweeps the country, reinforcing the ongoing relevance and impact of BE100s banks.

1978: BE 100s CEOs rise as a major force with the first-ever White House Summit on how to use the government to expand opportunities for minority businesses.

1993: How a black advertising agency beat out an international media conglomerate to break Madison’s Avenue titanium ceiling for African American firms—a multimillion-dollar general market account: No. 37: Black Ad Agency Slays A Madison Avenue Giant

2012: The uplifting story of how a group of BE 100s CEOs collaborated on the largest philanthropic effort driven by African Americans in history. We offer details on how they applied—and continue to use—their collective power, wealth, and clout to erect a $540 million national monument to black history: No. 35: The BE 100s Help Build A $540 Million Museum of Black Achievement

1987: John H. Johnson is named the first BE Entrepreneur of the Decade, having built Johnson Publishing Co. Inc., producers of Ebony, Jet, and Fashion Fair cosmetics into an international powerhouse

1990: BE Publisher Graves and Earvin “Magic” Johnson partner with Pepsi-Cola to establish Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C. L.P., creating the nation’s largest minority-controlled Pepsi bottling franchise.

1988: Berry Gordy sells Motown Records, which created “The Sound That Changed America” and held the No. 1 position on the BE 100s for a decade after its inception.

2012: BE 100s investment banks CastleOak Securities, Loop Capital, and Williams Capital serve as some of the underwriters for the $104 billion Facebook IPO. 

1986: Oprah Winfrey launches The Oprah Winfrey Show and within two years negotiates a distribution deal with syndicator King World, acquiring the rights to the nationally syndicated program. That groundbreaking deal launched her entertainment empire and BE 100s mainstay Harpo Inc.

1999: After building Radio One Inc. into a multimedia empire by acquiring more than 70 radio stations, Cathy Hughes takes the company public, becoming the first African American woman to operate a company listed on NASDAQ.

1993: Johnson Products Co., the haircare company known for Ultra Sheen and Gentle Treatment, is acquired. The $67 million sale represents the first BE 100s haircare manufacturer bought by a majority company and begins a decadelong series of mergers and acquisitions that virtually wipes out African American ownership within the black haircare industry.