“Jussie Smollett is like a son to me:” Maxine Waters and Other Stars Defend the “Empire” Actor at the NAACP Image Awards

Leave it up to Chris Rock to address the elephant in the room at the 50th annual NAACP Image Awards on Saturday. The racy comedian brazenly poked fun at actor Jussie Smollett before presenting the Image Award for outstanding comedy series during the live event, which was broadcasted on TV One.

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Rock said. “I know. What a waste of light skin, you know? You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be outta here, f–king running Hollywood.” He continued as the audience laughed, “What the hell was he thinking? From now on I ain’t never gonna (say) no ‘Jussie’ — you’re a ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.

The joke centered on accusations that Smollett falsified a police report and staged a fake homophobic and racist hate crime in Chicago earlier this year. Although he was charged with 16 counts and was facing up to 48 years in prison, state prosecutors cleared him of all charges in a controversial move last week [The case was also sealed and Smollett agreed to community service as well as forfeiture of $10,000 bail.]. Still, the embattled star opted not to appear at the Image Awards nor the preceding awards dinner held the night before where he lost the nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series to actor Jesse Williams for his role in Grey’s Anatomy.

Despite the laughs that Rock’s jokes drew from the audience, many stars at the awards expressed support for Smollett. Yara Shahidi, for instance, shot back at Rock, proclaiming “I stand with Jussie” while she and the cast of “Black-ish” accepted the award for outstanding comedy series. Likewise, Rep. Maxine Waters defended the openly gay actor. “Jussie Smollett is like a son to me. I’m very pleased about the verdict. I’m very pleased that he now has an opportunity to pick up and go on with his life,” the congresswoman told BLACK ENTERPRISE shortly after accepting the NAACP Chairman’s Award.

A number of public officials, including the Chicago police chief, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and even President Donald Trump blasted the decision to clear Smollett’s record. Waters, however, argued that it’s time for everyone to “settle down” and “let it go.”

“Nobody got hurt, nobody got shot, nobody was killed, Jussie Smollett had never committed a crime before,” she told BE. “Chicago has a lot of problems; a lot of killings go on every day. I would much rather they spend time and their money and their effort to apprehend killers and folks that are wreaking havoc on that city.”

Hazel Dukes, the former NAACP president and the current president of the NAACP New York State Conference, also criticized the response from Mayor Emanuel, who called the dropping of charges against Smollett “an unbelievable whitewash of justice.”

“I was upset with the mayor’s comment,” Dukes told BE. “As many blacks [that have] been killed by the police officers, he never came out that it was whitewashed when they didn’t get put in jail.”

“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson, who served as the host of the Image Awards, expressed his support for Smollett, previously telling Variety that he was rooting for Smollett to win an award. “I hope he wins. I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color,” Anderson said. “So I’m glad it worked out for him. It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad that he’s nominated… I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”

Meanwhile, Smollett has maintained his innocence. His character, however, has been removed from the last two episodes of “Empire.”

The post “Jussie Smollett is like a son to me:” Maxine Waters and Other Stars Defend the “Empire” Actor at the NAACP Image Awards appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Nipsey Hussle Reflected on His Legacy a Year Before His Death [VIDEO]

It may be the millennial generation’s Tupac moment—the untimely death of rap star Nipsey Hussle. While the 33-year-old rapper, whose real name was Ermias Davidson Asghedom, did not live long enough to achieve the legendary musical catalog of Tupac Shakur—his death, as with Shakur’s—will mark a sad milestone in the lives of younger hip-hop fans and the music industry.

There are parallels between the two artists. Both used their fame as platforms to fight injustice. Both rose from hard street lives to become stars in the entertainment industry. And both would become victims of the type of gun violence from which their fame and success could not serve as shields.

Yet, as with many of his generation, Nipsey Hussle saw the value of entrepreneurship and legacy wealth-building as a way of empowering the black community.

[Watch Nipsey Hussle’s interview with BE in April 2018]

How Nipsey Hussle Left a Legacy of Wealth-Building

A technology enthusiast, Hussle was intent on disrupting both the music and technology industries, one venture at a time.

“In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,’” he said in an interview with The LA Times. “And that’s cool, but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, follow [Mark] Zuckerberg.”

That keen understanding of the power of technology to build wealth and enact change sparked the idea for his retail store and brand, The Marathon Clothing. The first “smart store” of its kind, it offers customers an enhanced online as well as physical shopping experience through a custom app.

“This is just taking the retail space to the next level and also, offering a different experience when you come here as opposed to buying it online,” he said in an interview last year with Black Enterprise.

Iddris Sandu was a partner of Nipsey Hussle’s in The Marathon Clothing store venture. He spoke about the vision he and Hussle had for the store and why technology was so important to both of them.

“Tech companies don’t allow the culture to thrive by thinking that they have the best service and that culture benefits from the technology. The culture doesn’t work for the tech, the tech works for the culture. By honoring and respecting this, one can achieve a high level of success in arbitrating both of these fields to create unparalleled experiences,” said Sandu at the time.

The Marathon Clothing is located in the heart of the Crenshaw District, where Hussle grew up. The store would also, unfortunately, become the location where his life abruptly ended.

The Grammy-nominated artist also invested in cryptocurrency, real estate, and had recently opened Vector 90, a co-working space and incubator that also served as a STEM center for youth.

What He Meant to Millennials and the Urban Community

Several millennials at Black Enterprise weighed in on what Nipsey Hussle meant to them and their generation.

For me, Nipsey as he often described himself, “a well-groomed gangster lumberjack” was the epitome of what rap culture requires these days—an authentic character that fans can relate to ( he talked famously about being a member of the Rolling 60’s Crips) and a figure corporate America could embrace and sell. His business acumen is well documented and his interests varied beyond the recording booth. I was in awe when he conceived the idea to sell his CD, Crenshaw for $100 , a limited edition of 1,000, in which Jay Z purchased 100 copies. His mixtape series Bullets Ain’t Got No Name proved tragically prophetic. — Ed Stokes, Videographer; Content Producer


I actually do listen to Nipsey Hussle’s music and he is one of my favorite artists. One thing I can say about him is that although none of his projects sounded the same, he always had one underlying theme in all of them and that was ownership. For most of Nipsey’s career, he was independent and paid for marketing and distribution himself. He constantly rapped about owning 100% of the masters to all of his music recording which is a big deal since most artists relinquish a percentage of the rights to their music once they sign to a major record label. He was not just a rapper but an example to other rappers by showing them they can be self-sufficient and successful at the same time. —Roland Michel, Researcher


Although I’ve never listened to Nipsey Hussle’s music, I admired the impact he made in his community and the example he set as a former gang-member-turned-entrepreneur and rapper from South L.A. Despite growing up in a community plagued by drug and gang activity, he was determined to beat the odds and used his platform to invest in underrepresented ​neighborhoods. For example, last year his foundation financed the development of a co-working space, STEM center, and incubator geared toward children of color. He also founded his own record label and opened his own smart store, where he was tragically gunned down. Nipsey Hussle gave hope to ​inner-city youth and will be recognized as a hometown hero. —Selena Hill, Digital Editor


Nipsey Hussle preached the gospel of business and ownership from day one. That is what drew me to his work. Beyond his artistry, he set the standard for how black men from the community should give back; set up shop in their communities; and be for the people. Nipsey always reminded me of who Tupac could have become. Thirty-three is such a powerful age for black men biblically speaking. He taught others how to have multiple streams of revenue, made people believe in the power of ownership, and left a legacy. —Lydia T. Blanco, Digital Community Specialist

In the end, his main focus was leaving a positive legacy.

“10 years from now, I would like to have laid a blueprint down that other people can follow who came from the same situation,” he said in his interview with BE. 

– Editors’ Note: Sequoia Blodgett and Mia N. Hall contributed to this article. 

The post Nipsey Hussle Reflected on His Legacy a Year Before His Death [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Some Useful Facts About Storm Shelters

After a lot of deliberations, you might have ended up buying a storm shelter in Edmond. But you might be worried whether it is a correct investment or a waste of money. Let us try and find answers for the same over the next few lines. There are divided opinions as far as the benefits and shortcomings of these storm shelters concerned. There are many who are quite happy about the investment while there are others who believe that it is a waste of money and does not offer any tangible results. Hence it would be interesting to find out where exactly the truth lies. Let us try and find answers for the same over the next few lines. It certainly will be a useful piece of information for all those who wish to know more about Stillwater storm shelters from the right perspective. There are some myths and misinformation surrounding storm shelters and we will try and put things in the right perspective so that customers and readers are able to take an informed and correct decision based on facts rather than being driven in by opinions.

 They Are Not Very Expensive

 There is a common misconception that storm shelters are a big drain on the pocket and cost a lot of money. This exactly may not be the fact. If you do your research and then decide, you could buy them at reasonably affordable prices. The prices are quite flexible and could range anything from $2000 and could up to $4000 and even more. There are many reasons for such wide fluctuation in prices. It is because of size, special features, space for keeping pets and other such things. Some shelters also come with safes where you could keep your valuables. Hence, it would be wrong to suggest that these shelters are very expensive. They make a good investment and could come in handy when natural disasters strike.

 It Is Easy To Install

 There is another common perception that these devices are complex and difficult when it comes to installing them. This again is not based on facts because they are quite easy to install. In fact, many of them come in ready to use and pre-installed form and therefore all that you have to do is to have them installed. This should not take more than a few minutes and therefore in times of problem and disaster these shelters could certainly come in very handy, to say the least.

 They Are Durable

 There is no doubt that you would like to get the best value for money when it comes to these shelters. Those who have purchased it and made use of it have reasons to believe that it is highly durable and offers the best value for money. If you do your research and buy the right sized storm shelters you can be sure that it will last for years at length and you will most certainly get the full value for money.


 In fine, there is no doubt that the advantages of having a storm shelter far outweigh the cost and the negative feedback that is often associated with them. It is something that will stand you in good stead when you need it the most.





Advantages Of Call Track Software

Small business needs to be very careful about the marketing campaigns so that their businesses can grow from one level to another. It also could help in increasing customer base apart from creating the best of brand awareness. However, in many cases, a small business cannot afford to spend big money on marketing campaigns that are uncertain as far as end results are concerned. They have no resources to squander and further they also need to measure the spending that they make on their advertisements campaigns. This will help them to gain knowledge and find out as to what is working and what is not working. Many of these small time business houses receive their inputs and leads through inbound phone calls. This becomes a regular feature whenever campaigns are run. However, they need to find out about the success or otherwise about such campaigns. Toward this objective, there is no doubt that call tracker software is becoming quite important and relevant. Therefore it is quite common these days to see dozens of small companies going in for phone call tracking software. Let us try and have a look at some obvious advantages of these software solutions for a small business house.

Expand Business

There is no doubt that having the right call track software helps the small business houses to expand their business by giving more attention to geographies that are untapped. In a highly competitive world, there is nothing much left as far as brand loyalties are concerned. Hence, small companies cannot run the risk of depending on a few select customers. They have to expand to new areas and geographies. Having a call track software could help in this endeavor. It helps the small business houses to know more about the geographical data of the people who are placing calls to such small business houses. If you are able to track the data, you will be able to have a clear demarcation of the geographies from where the leads are emanating. You can then place area specific and locality specific sales and promotional campaigns and make the best out of it.

More Accurate Spending

When you have the best of call tracking software, you can be sure that you will be running marketing campaigns that are highly focused and that they target the right groups of customers. You will not be hitting some blind shots in the air and expecting some results. You can be sure that you will be able to directly get in touch with only those customers who are looking for your specific products and services.

It Could Help In Improving ROI

When you have small businesses, your objective would be to reduce costs as much as possible. Keeping costs low will improve margins and the bottom line will be healthy. However, the challenge for businesses is to run with shoestring budgets as far as advertisements and sales promotions are concerned. Towards this objective, there is no doubt that going in for call track software could be a good idea. It could help in moving away from a trial and error approach to something that is based on hard facts and reports. Hence, there is no doubt that call track software is a boon for small business houses.

Is Investing In Luxury Properties A Good Idea

There is no doubt that investment in real estate is often considered to be one of the best investments. It most certainly assures very good return on investment over a period of time. There is a big difference between luxury apartments as we know it and what exactly they are. In many regions, apartments and homes with basic amenities are often clubbed as luxury properties. This actually is not the case. Luxury Apartments in OKC and buildings and homes have their own connotation and we should have some basic idea about them. You must understand the real meaning of luxury and only then should you think of investing in such properties. Apart from the size of the construction, the facilities inside and outside it, the lifestyle that it offers and other such things, there are a few other points that one must always bear in mind. These should include the location, the scenic beauty it offers, the future growth prospects, durability and longevity amongst other things. We will now try and find out whether it makes sense to invest in these real estate properties and whether it is a prudent decision or not.

It Is A Matter Of Status

When you invest in a luxurious home it shows quite a bit about your prestige and status. At the end of the day, only those who earn big money would be in a position to invest in such luxury properties. It goes to prove that the owner is a successful person and must have put in quite a bit of hard work to make such big money. This in itself will increase his or her respect amongst friends, relatives, neighbors and the community at large. Further, such high-cost buildings and homes are bought and inhabited only by those who are educated and have sophistication and lifestyle very much evident in them. Hence, buying luxury property certainly goes a long way in enhancing the status of such persons.

Comfort All Through

Comfort and the best quality of life are a few more reasons as to why people go in for these luxury homes and apartments. They not only offer the best of lifestyle inside the home but also have some of the best outdoor facilities. These could include swimming pools, gyms, meditation centers, gardens that are landscaped, entertainment venues, shopping malls, libraries, wi-fi connectivity, and other such things.

The Best Of Security Features

It also would be pertinent to mention that luxury homes offer the best of security features. The entire homes for rent in Nichols Hills OK and surrounding areas are gated and the best of security and surveillance systems are in a place like electronic cameras, monitoring system, digital locking and keying systems amongst other things.

The Best Of Resale Value

This is perhaps one of the most important and popular reasons as to why wealthy people are keen on investing big money on these luxury apartments and buildings. Compared to ordinary buildings and apartments, the value of these properties could go up by almost more than 45 to 75% in many cases. Hence, when all the above factors are taken into account, there are many reasons to buy these properties.

Contact US:

J Marshall Square


9017 N University Ave
Oklahoma City,
Phone: (405) 702-0060

Tips On Selecting The Right Fitness Centers

Whether it is yoga classes or the best of Zumba classes near me and other fitness centers, you could literally be flooded with advertisements and sales talks. These aggressive advertisements are available on the internet, the print and electronic media. This makes the task of choosing the right service provider quite tough and challenging. Unless you are well informed and unless you do the right research and get the right information, you could end up making the wrong choice. Hence we are sharing below a few important points that one should keep in mind when it comes to choosing such fitness centers. We are sure it will help you in making the right choice whether it is some yoga center or other types of health clubs.

Where Is It Located

Many people give up on fitness centers because they are not located conveniently. Hence, this is one of the most important points you must bear in mind when choosing such centers. It must be located close to your home or workplace. You should avoid traveling miles at length. it not only is a big waste of time but could also drain you mentally and physically by the time you reach the fitness center. Ideally, the fitness center that you plan to visit should be located within a maximum of a one-mile radius. This makes traveling easy, to say the least.

Choose The Right Timing And Hours

You also must be sure about the timings and the number of hours you want to spend on the local gyms near me. You should make up your mind whether you will be hitting the gym before the start of your working hours or after it. ideally, workouts before the start of the day would be a better option. Workouts after office hours could lead to fatigue and tiredness. However, while this is a general finding, there are many who are comfortable doing their workouts in fitness centers after their working hours. It helps to concentrate fully on the workouts rather than thinking about the work requirements during the day.

Quality Of The Fitness Center

This is one of the most important points that you must keep in mind while selecting the fitness center. They must enjoy a good reputation, must have a good track record and must have been around for a few years. They must have the best of trainers and equipment and the fitness centers must also provide the right atmosphere. The safety, security and comfort factors must also be taken into account while choosing a good fitness center near your neighborhood.


Yes, this is also an important point to be kept in mind while identifying and shortlisting such as fitness centers. The cost should be competitive and comparable. In your quest for cutting down on costs, you must be sure that you do not compromise on quality. You could end up choosing a fitness center that is drab and has the worst of health and safety standards.

The Final Word

In fine, there are quite a few things and points that you must check and confirm before you spend money, time and effort in your fitness center. It must offer you the right value for money.

Contact US:

The Alaska Club

Address:1400 W Northern Lights Blvd
Anchorage, Alaska
Phone: (907)-264-2720

Turning The Electoral Map Blue, One Local Election At A Time

Madison Paige is on a mission to change the colors of the nation’s electoral map. As the founder of Bold Blue Campaigns, Paige wants to make a difference in the world. She was empowered to execute change because of her efforts during the Obama presidential campaign. As a volunteer during those early days of Obama’s first run for president, Paige organized a group of 300 volunteers and by doing so got on the radar of the Obama campaign team. As the organizer and leader of 300 volunteers, Paige took notice of the inequity inherent in political campaigns. “I saw that local candidates didn’t have this kind of support and it bothered me,” she says.

She was one of the first in the nation to implement the concept of the “Coordinated Campaign.” Knowing that she oversaw 300+ volunteers allowed her to assist local candidates as well as Obama’s campaign by putting together a coordinated effort that delivered results up and down the ballot.

After Obama’s election to office, Paige continued working with local candidates but could not seem to find a solution to the disadvantages that local candidates faced when it came to raising money and getting volunteers.  One night, as she was falling asleep, it came to her: Subsidize local campaigns through a network of grassroots support.

“You Have to Build from the Bottom Up”

For Paige, power lies at the local level. Politics is a ground-up system and strategies that rely on this fact have succeeded repeatedly. The biggest difference you can make in politics is at the local level, where the day-to-day decisions that affect people’s lives directly are made.  This was the beginning of the effort that would eventually evolve into Bold Blue Campaigns.

Paige firmly believes that the black community needs to understand the power that it holds with the casting of its vote, especially at the local level. The black vote stemmed the flow of what is ugliest about the country right now and yet these voters have not been recognized or rewarded for their diligence. It is critical for Democrats to acknowledge the importance of the black vote. African American voters need to be encouraged to show up and support candidates at the state and local level as well as in national elections. Voting at the local level can have a tremendous impact on the way government affects your daily life. Helping to decide who your city council members, mayors, and county officials are can have a more drastic effect on how you go about your life than anything that happens at the national level.

Paige is so passionate about this idea of grassroots involvement she is launching a product called Operation Blue Map, which is in response to the Republican “Operation Red Map.”  Republicans used this $30 million effort to target state positions and turn state governments so red that they were able to gerrymander control of congressional districts. Paige believes the time is now for the Democrats to take a page out of the GOP playbook and make a concerted effort to take back control of local governments across the country.

A Commitment to Service

Madison Paige is definitely a visionary and has a true belief in a government by the people and for the people. Her passion for her work comes from her parents who instilled in her a fearless attitude and a commitment to service. Paige said it was because she knew she would always be loved regardless of whether she succeeded or failed. The courage she built from her upbringing started her on a path of success and helped create a fearless attitude she now works to instill in others.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Turning The Electoral Map Blue, One Local Election At A Time appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Laila Ali On Lessons From Her Dad, Her Kids in the Ring, and Her Latest Partnership [VIDEO]

In addition to her undefeated boxing record and being the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali is a chef, author, entrepreneur, and television host. On top of that, she’s a health-conscious wife and mother dedicated to empowering people through healthy lifestyle options. That’s why it comes with little surprise that she signed on to be the face of Home Made Simple’s new eco-friendly cleaning product line.

Many know Home Made Simple as an Emmy-award winning docuseries Ali hosts on the OWN network. On the show, Ali and a team of experts help real people transform their homes and lives by using creative solutions to everyday home challenges and design dilemmas. On March 27, the lifestyle brand announced the next phase of its budding empire: a line of plant-based household products that include a hand soap, dish soap, multi-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, and fabric softener. The collection is free of gluten, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and dyes. Plus, the bottles are 100% recyclable, and both the laundry detergent and fabric softener bottles are made from 25% or more post-consumer recycled plastic. Ali says she signed on to promote the product line because it is in line with her values.

“I am someone who is all about having products in my home that are safe for my family. I live for the environment,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “There are a lot of products that actually work, but they are not good for you or the environment.”

Laila Ali video

Laila Ali (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Home Made Simple/AP Images)

Fighting for What’s Right

Much like her father, Ali stands firm in her beliefs and does not sanction anything that conflicts with her core values, even if that means turning down an endorsement deal or lucrative opportunity. “I haven’t been the face of many brands because, first of all, they have to be something that really resonates with me and feels true to me,” said the four-time boxing world champion. “It has to be something that I would use, something that I can stand behind, something that I believe in.”

Ali has not veered far from her father’s footsteps. Outside of the ring, Muhammad Ali held steadfast beliefs in justice and equality and infamously refused to fight in the Vietnam War. He also used his platform as the world heavyweight champion to stand up for civil rights and even forfeit his heavyweight belt. The 41-year-old retired boxer said one of the biggest lessons she learned from her dad was having a “fighting mindset,” both in and out of the ring. “He really taught me to figure out how I can fight through anything that’s going on and have the best outcome. So, I kind of pretty much apply that to everything I’m doing. I don’t expect everything to be easy or go my way,“ she told BE. “Don’t look at failures as [just] failures; look at them as opportunities to grow or do something differently next time.”

Just like her father initially disapproved of Ali’s decision to step into the ring, likewise, Ali says she would caution her own 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter about competing in the combat sport. “I definitely don’t want them to do that because it’s a dangerous sport and I think my dad felt the same way when I started boxing, but it didn’t prevent me from doing it.” Nonetheless, she said she would support her children if they did decide to carry her family’s legacy.

Watch BE‘s exclusive video interview with Laila Ali below.

The post Laila Ali On Lessons From Her Dad, Her Kids in the Ring, and Her Latest Partnership [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Oprah Announces New Shows to Air on Apple TV Plus

This past week in Cupertino, California, at Apple’s news release, Oprah Winfrey unveiled the content she plans to roll out onto Apple’s new streaming content service, Apple TV Plus.
Although not many details were disclosed, we do know the talk show maven will be bringing her book club to the screen by interviewing renowned authors who will broadcast on all Apple devices.  Additionally, two documentary projects are in the works. The first, “Toxic Labor,” will document the impact of workplace harassment, in a multipart series.

“The Apple platform has allowed me to do what I do in a whole new way,” said Winfrey, “connecting people and taking it to a whole new level because they have a billion pockets, y’all.”

Other prominent figures at the event included Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and J.J. Abrams.

The deal was announced in June of last year; but up until this point, the details have been pretty hush, hush. From a previous announcement, we do know Apple is investing $1 billion into original programming and planned on bringing on big-name producers in order to execute the tall order. “Ms. Winfrey will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” stated Apple in the release.

This fall, Apple will release its new TV streaming service, Apple TV Plus, in an effort to support the new content. The service will launch through the Apple Store and will include live streams across all Apple devices. In a statement, Apple says Apple TV Plus will be “the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies, and documentaries.”

Apple is clearly positioning itself to be a Netflix competitor. It will be interesting to see how all of this pans out.

The post Oprah Announces New Shows to Air on Apple TV Plus appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Award-winning Filmmaker Tells the Stories of Black Businesses Through a Historic Lens

Oftentimes, when mainstream business success stories are told, the African American experience is overlooked despite the fact that black folks have been building businesses—as well institutions and communities—for decades in the face of racism, legal segregation, and systemic oppression. However, in a new film, award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson is shedding light on the historic achievements of African American entrepreneurs and the economic and societal impact that black businesses have made over the last century.

Nelson’s new documentary, Boss: The Black Experience in Business, chronicles the plight of black entrepreneurs since the end of slavery. It tells the untold story of African American entrepreneurship while highlighting legendary business leaders like Madam C.J. Walker and Motown legend Berry Gordy, as well as modern-day icons like Richelieu Dennis of SheaMoisture, billionaire Robert F. Smith, and venture capital investor Arlan Hamilton.

“African Americans have always been entrepreneurial. And wealth generation has always been connected to our empowerment,” wrote Nelson in a tweet promoting the film, which premieres on April 23 on PBS.

Nelson’s last documentary, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, sparked a national conversation on social media about the legacy of HBCU’s following its premiered in 2017. “These schools have provided the foundation of black intellectual thought for 160 years,” Nelson told BLACK ENTERPRISE in 2017. “I’ve spent a career documenting key leaders and events in African American history but make no mistake, there would be no civil rights movement without HBCUs.”

Stanley Nelson - black business

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wikimedia Commons)

Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution—a film that chronicles the rise and fall of the revolutionary Black Panther Party—also had a major cultural impact in 2015 and earned him an Emmy Award.

In 2000, he and his wife, award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith, founded Firelight Media to address the deficit of films made by and about people of color. The organization has since produced over 25 hours of primetime programming for public television and received several major broadcast awards, including the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Nelson, a three-time Primetime Emmy Award-winner, was also honored with the National Humanities Medal by President Barak Obama in 2013.

Boss: The Black Experience in Business is a Firelight Films production for THIRTEEN Productions L.L.C., in association with The HistoryMakers. It premieres Tuesday, April 23 on PBS at 7 pm CT/8pm ET. Watch the trailer below.

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