As #BlackLivesMatter trends across the globe for reasons not plausibly very humanistic, the focus is increasingly shifting to such means and avenues that can help the rest of the world express solidarity with the much atrocitised black population. While black owned businesses aren’t exactly a rarity since quite some time now, it’s essential to laud them all the more specially in times like these. Here are four big and successful black owned businesses for up and rising black entrepreneurs to turn to inspiration for-
For a lady who exudes charm with her personality like Oprah Winfrey does, it is no surprise that she is one of the most well known of persons in the media front. A rape victim at childhood who grew up to become America’s only African- American billionaire, spearheading a talk show that had taken the whole world by unprecedented interest speaks volumes about Oprah Winfrey’s status as a global icon.
But no less commanding that Winfrey’s stellar character is her business acumen, that which made her the founder of Harpo Productions. A multimedia production company, Harpo had been the producer of Winfrey’s hit talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show that earned her also a major chunk of profits besides catapulting her into worldwide fame. The richest African American of the 20th century and the greatest black philanthropist in American history, Winfrey’s position as the chairman of Harpo Inc led her to be named the most powerful women in entertainment in 2008. Needless to say, Winfrey’s tremendous talent that led to the founding of Harpo Inc among her many ventures led her to the phenomenal life that she lives today.
For a brand as instantly recognisable as Fenty, it’s not just the superstar owner of the label but also the ethics that go into deciphering its uniqueness as part of a more inclusive phenomenon the world has forever been witness to. Founded by singer- actress Rihanna in 2017, Fenty Beauty is a cosmetics brand with a difference. The fashion line is celebrated for its broad inclusiveness, for its acceptance of all irrespective of skin tones and gender, ethnicities and curviness- that perhaps has helped it in striking a chord with an outlook that is more reflective of the diverse world.
Herself a black woman from Barbados, Rihanna chose to explore the broader beauty market with Fenty Beauty- something that run of the mill makeup companies had not been doing yet. With beauty offerings in as many extensive shades as possible, Fenty Beauty rose to be not just an iconic black owned business but has been also equally as responsible in its ad campaigns. In prominently featuring black models and other women of color, Fenty proved to be not only a black owned brand but also one that consciously strived to make black more a part of the crowd. Apart from its emphasis on launching such beauty products that catdred to people of every skin color, Fenty Beauty also has embraced makeup use across gender lines in its My Fenty, My Mood campaign.
The apparel line founded by Sean Combs, Sean John is another extremely successful black owned business. One of the richest rappers in the world, the multi talented Combs, better known by his stage name Diddy, founded the lifestyle company way back in 1998. Debuting with a men’s sportswear collection for the spring 1998 season, Sean John has been a critical and commercial success in the years that followed. From being a regular at the award ceremony for the Council of Fashion Designers of America to being awarded the 2004 CFDA Men’s Designer of the Year award, Sean John has worked its way up the fashion and lifestyle ladder to emerge as an iconic brand.
A cultural force in fashion, Sean John managed to bridge the design gap between menswear and streetwear long before it was trendy. Himself one of the most influential figures of modern culture, Sean Combs’ foray into business with Sean John at the front has to go down in history as one of the most successful black businesses ever.
Pat McGrath Labs
From someone named the most influential make-up artist in the world by Vogue magazine stems a beauty brand no less pathbreaking. Pat McGrath Labs, named after its founder is a $1 billion enterprise, having achieved the feat in just some three years of its launch. However despite seeing the prevalent norms in the beauty market of her younger age as one that rarely catered to people of color, Pat McGrath did not set about building a brand exclusively around the purpose.
Herself a make up and beauty obsessed soul, McGrath’s beauty brand features such products that encourage users to explore a fearless, daring attitude towards makeup. That however does not make Pat McGrath any less inclined toward incorporating diversity into her line of cosmetics. Apart from the experimentation with shades, the brands is also about inclusiveness in terms of shape, size, gender classification. Perhaps that’s what has driven Pat McGrath Labs to being one of the successful black owned businesses- in dishing out such products that work on all skin tones, the brand is about inclusivity in as fluid and natural a manner as possible.