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Businesses You Might Have Thought Were Black-Owned But Are NOT

Some businesses are 100% Black-owned and operated, like this platform. These brands outright identify as having Black founders and CEOs. Brands I love like Capital City Mambo Sauce, Uncle Ray's Products, and clothes from Black Vibe Tribe or hair care products from Black Naps (Natural and Proud Sistas).


Then some brands are majority-owned. Consider Tristan Walker who sold his multimillion-dollar men's grooming brand Bevel to Procter & Gamble in 2018 yet still remains the company's CEO. Rockstar Rihanna owns 15% of Fenty Beauty, a brand she developed with LVMH-owned incubator Kendo, also home to Fenty Skin. Last year, Mane Choice was sold to MAV Beauty where founder Courtney Adeleye remains the CEO of the hair care brand.


"Black-owned" should be simple to understand but for those who are unsure, a Black-owned business should be an entity where at least a majority of the shareholder equity, partnership interest, member share or other ownership interest in the business or its holding companies are owned by a Black person/people. Why does this matter? Some Black entrepreneurs. activists and industry leaders believe that, without an audit, verification, and disclosure process, white-owned parent companies can manipulate consumers into thinking their dollars are going to a Black-owned business when, in reality, a Black founder or CEO can act as a front for a predominantly white company. It matters when billions of dollars are at stake - funds that can close the racial wealth gap and establish generational wealth.


It's unfortunate when you discover a brand is not Black-owned but marketed to Black people, has a Black spokesperson, or creates a product specifically for Black people. I feel a sense of betrayal having the knowledge that my community is not profiting nearly enough from the money being made while being the target audience for shoes, cars, soda, fast food, and more. Scroll down to see a few examples of businesses you might have thought were Black-Owned but are NOT.


1. BET

Black Entertainment Television (BET) reaches 85 million homes and has aired over 45 programs including original content, acquired programming, and award shows cast with Black people, featuring Black culture, and marketing to Black Audiences as a 24-hour entertainment network. It was sold to Viacom in 2000 by the original owner Robert Johnson and his investment partners, making him the first African American billionaire. The Redstone family holding company, National Amusements Inc., owns 79.4% of the Class A voting common stock of ViacomCBS — the owner of cable TV networks, Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster and the CBS broadcast station. Eighty percent of NAI’s voting interest was controlled by Sumner Redstone.


2. George Foreman Grill

One of the bestselling infomercial products of all time, the George Forman Grill was created by Michael Boehm. The tabletop cast iron grill that also drains grease was created