Robert L. Johnson Calls Out Corporations’ Lack of Support of Black Business After BLM Pledges

Robert L. Johnson Calls Out Corporations’ Lack of Support of Black Business After BLM Pledges

Black businesses seem to be thriving, but is there more to the story?

Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET, claims Black business owners aren’t reaping the benefits of the money that corporations pledged during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Bloomberg reported.

During an appearance on The David Rubenstein Show, Johnson said the Black community is “disappointed.”

“The sad secret of that is companies — White companies — have announced that they’re gonna put millions of dollars into diversity, in terms of Black investment and business,” Johnson said.

“It’s really not happening.”

The height of BLM protests began in 2020, after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

Corporations from McDonald’s to Bank of America pledged close to $50 billion to expand the movement and do their part, according to The Washington Post.

However, looking deeper into the funds, The Post found that $45.2 billion can be allocated as loans or investments that they could profit from. $4.2 billion of the total pledged is in the form of grants and only $70 million actually went to organizations with a specific focus on criminal reform.

Johnson, chairman of RLJ Companies, told the outlet that each company should be audited, to prove where their money has gone.

However, one specialist said corporations often don’t have the ability to do all they say.

“Corporations are not set up to wield their power for the greater good as much as we give them credit for, a lot of times,” Phillip Atiba Goff told The Washington Post.

Goff, co-founder of The Center for Policing Equity, also said that it’s more of an ideation. “They are constrained by things they feel they need to do to manage their brand in a world where Black liberation does not have consensus.”

The former Charlotte Bobcats owner wants corporations to remember Black businesses when making such bold promises, reminding Bloomberg of the risk Black entrepreneurs take.

“It’s just not easy” for Black entrepreneurs trying to start businesses today, Johnson said.

“It is correct to say people think about it more. But do they do more? That’s the problem.”