Famous Black Entrepreneurs

We look at other famous black entrepreneurs.


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Tyler Perry - Regardless of what you think about his plays, Tyler Perry’s story is an excellent example of overcoming adversity. Perry went from being molested in a broken home to the president and founder of Tyler Perry Studios. His films had grossed over $400 million worldwide as of July 2009.(Photo: Brad Barket/PictureGroup)


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Berry Gordy Jr. - Berry Gordy Jr. is the man responsible for founding one of the most iconic record labels of all-time in Motown. The songwriter had an ear for talent: The likes of the Jackson 5, the Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Commodores were all Motown artists.(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Earl Graves, Sr.: Black Enterprise  - Earl G. Graves Sr. is the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. Graves started his first business while a student at Morgan State University, cutting deals with two local florists during Homecoming Week.(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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Earl Graves, Sr. - Earl Graves Sr. started his first business when he was a student at Morgan State University, cutting deals with two local florists during Homecoming Week. Through his involvement with the Small Business Administration, Graves started a newsletter that discussed issues relevant to Black business people. That newsletter would eventually become “Black Enterprise” in 1970.(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)


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Madame C.J. Walker - Madame C.J. Walker became a hair-care entrepreneur after suffering from a scalp ailment that caused her to lose some of her hair. As a result, she started selling Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower while traveling throughout the United States. Along with selling her products, Walker also trained other Black women on how to build their own businesses.(Photo: A'Lelia Bundles/Madam Walker Family Archives


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Farrah Gray - The youngest entrepreneur on this list, Farrah Gray has been on the national scene since he was a preteen. At the age of 6, Gray created his own blend of body lotion and made $9. Twenty years later, Gray is a millionaire businessman, best-selling author, and syndicated columnist.(Photo: Courtesy of Farrah Gray)

John H. Johnson: Ebony Magazine - John H. Johnson served as founder and publisher of Ebony magazine. Before passing away in 2005, Johnson became the first African-American to appear on the Forbes 400.(Photo: Johnson Publishing Company)

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John H. Johnson - Publisher John H. Johnson used a $500 loan in order to get his first publication, “The Negro Digest,” off the ground in 1942. Three years later, Johnson launched “Ebony” magazine when Black soldiers were returning home from World War II. Before passing away in 2005, Johnson would become the first African-American to appear on the Forbes 400.(Photo: Wikicommons)


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Russell Simmons - Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons co-founded Def Jam Recordings with producer Rick Rubin in 1984. But his entrepreneurship wouldn’t end there, as Simmons has started several companies throughout the years, including Phat Farm and Argyleculture.(Photo: Adrianna Walters/PictureGroup)


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Sheila Johnson - Along with her then husband Robert Johnson, Sheila Johnson helped launch BET in 1980. After the Johnsons sold the network to Viacom in 1999, Sheila would become the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three sports franchises (the Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals, and Washington Wizards.)


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Earvin "Magic" Johnson - HIV forced Earvin “Magic” Johnson to retire from the NBA prematurely, and he focused his attention on Magic Johnson Enterprises. During his peak, Johnson’s portfolio included four AMC movie theaters, 116 Starbucks, 31 Burger King franchises, and 13 24-Hour Fitness facilities.(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Cathy Hughes - Cathy Hughes rose from single mom to leading radio executive, founding Radio One, with 55 music and entertainment stations in 16 markets across the U.S., and more than $400 million in revenue a year.   (Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

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Cathy Hughes - Cathy Hughes founded Radio One in 1979 with her then husband Dewey Hughes. Twenty-five years later, Radio One and Hughes launched TV One, a national cable network that targets African-American adults. Hughes currently runs the company with her son, Alfred Liggins, and both have been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernest & Young.(Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey|x-default

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Oprah Winfrey - After Oprah Winfrey established herself as an on-air talent, she founded Harpo Productions in 1986. The production company was responsible for “Beloved” and “The Great Debaters” and is home to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which is ending after 25 seasons on Sept. 9. Harpo Productions has moved on to bigger and better things with the launch of the OWN Network earlier this year.(Photo: Vince Bucci/PictureGroup)


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George Foreman - As part of George Foreman’s comeback, the former heavyweight champion began promoting the George Foreman Grill in 1994. Foreman credited healthy eating for his ability to fight again, and the product would go on to be a hit, with over 100 million units sold since its launch.(Photo: Jeremy O'Donnell/Getty Images)