I hate to say it, but often when I learn about Black-owned businesses that have been around for generations, I soon find out that while they were founded by Black people, they were eventually bought out by people that are not Black. So while these companies are rooted in Black excellence, they are technically not “Black-owned”.
There are so many companies that fit into this category and here are a few:
- Bae – You remember the dating mobile app that was founded by 3 Black Millennial brothas? Well, they sold their company to if(we), the parent company of Tagged a couple of months ago.
- Soft Sheen – This brand was a hair-care staple in my household when I was a youngin. It was acquired by L’Oreal USA in 1998.
- Translation Consulting and Brand Imaging – This was owned by marketing guru Steve Stoute and specialized in helping celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyonce, and T.I. partner up with major corporate sponsors and launch joint marketing campaigns. It was acquired by Interpublic Group in 2007.
- BET – We all know who BET is (home of the old faves like 106 & Park, Comic View, & Rap City). BET was acquired by Viacom for $2.34 billion in 2000.
- Essence Magazine – Essence Magazine, a popular Black female-targeted magazine that we all know of was acquired by Time Inc. in 2005.
There are so many other races that have founded and still own wealthy companies that have been around for years. It is important that Black people continue to start their own businesses and do exactly what these other races have done (and are doing) – and that’s keep our companies in the family so that we can have generational Black wealth.
This is why I was so excited to hear about the new acquisition by iONE Digital and why I was so inspired after learning more about this great corporation.
iONE Digital (http://www.iONEdigital.com), formerly known as Interactive One, recently acquired some of the biggest and most popular Black media sites: Bossip.com, HipHopWired.com and MadameNoire.com from Moguldom Media Group. Prior to this acquisition, these brands combined to make Moguldom Media Group, the third largest Black digital content provider. Now, each of these brands are 100% owned by iONE Digital.
“The decision to acquire these brands falls in line with our overall strategy of building a portfolio of ‘meaningful brands’ that are rooted in Black culture but have strong millennial and total market audiences,” says Detavio Samuels, president of iONE Digital. “In today’s ever-changing media landscape, it is imperative that we build a portfolio of brands with distinct voices and engaged audiences across multiple distribution channels; these three brands fit that strategic filter and we look forward to working with the existing teams to catapult these brands to the next level.”
The three, newly acquired media companies will operate under “BHM Digital” alongside a few other Black media top players (HelloBeautiful, NewsOne, and GlobalGrind). “With this strategic acquisition, we not only offer brands a larger audience but we also offer advertisers all of the top digital-first brands in the Black culture space under one roof; there simply is no competition,” Samuels says.
Just to give you a little background information, iONE Digital is a division of Urban One (formerly known as Radio One). For years, the Radio One, Inc. brand has dominated as the largest Black-owned broadcasting company.
“More than 35 years ago, we proudly began representing Black culture by lifting our voices boldly, courageously and unapologetically,” said CEO Alfred C. Liggins III in a press statement. “Urban One’s mission is to enhance and maintain our position as the largest distributor of urban content in the country.”
To top this all off, Urban One currently covers 82 percent of multimedia content that reaches Black American audiences. This corporation was founded by Cathy Hughes, who also became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation when Radio One (now known as Urban One) went public in 1999.
Now if this aint #BlackExcellence and motivation I don’t know what is!