Robert Louis Johnson was the visionary entrepreneur and media mogul who revolutionized the television industry.
• Robert Louis Johnson is a media mogul and entrepreneur who revolutionized the television industry by co-founding Black Entertainment Television (BET).
• His groundbreaking network became the first black-controlled company on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. In 2001, he became the first African-American billionaire when Viacom acquired BET for $3 billion.
• Beyond BET, Johnson has interests in hotel real estate investment, private equity, financial services, entertainment, and more through his diverse holding company, RLJ Companies.
• Additionally, Johnson’s philanthropic efforts include partnering with Morgan Freeman to raise funds for hurricane preparedness in the Bahamas and launching the RLJ Ella Rose Africa Tie Collection to benefit Malaria No More. He also established the Liberia Enterprise Development Fund to support Liberian entrepreneurship.
• In 2014, Johnson launched his video-on-demand streaming service Urban Movie Channel and partnered with AMC Networks in 2016 to expand its reach. This allowed greater opportunities for African-American creatives while providing significant investments in content development.
• Before his retirement in 2019, Bob Johnson was married to Lauren Wooden, whom he divorced in 2020. He was previously married to Sheila Johnson, with whom he had two children.
As the co-founder of BET, Johnson created the first cable television network aimed at African Americans. His groundbreaking network turned a profit in 1985 and became the first black-controlled company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. In 2001, he became the first African-American billionaire when Viacom acquired BET for a reported $3 billion.
But Johnson’s achievements don’t stop there. He is also the founder of RLJ Companies, a diverse holding company that invests in various business sectors. With interests in hotel real estate investment, private equity, financial services, entertainment, and more, Johnson’s entrepreneurial spirit knows no bounds.
In addition to his business ventures, Johnson is a philanthropist and investor. He has served on the boards of numerous companies and organizations, including the United Negro College Fund and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He even became the first African-American majority club owner of a major American sports league team by purchasing the Charlotte Bobcats in 2002.
In 2014, Johnson launched his video-on-demand streaming service, Urban Movie Channel, and in 2016, he partnered with AMC Networks to further expand its reach. This partnership not only provides greater opportunities for African-American creatives but also allows for significant investments in content development.
Robert Louis Johnson’s accomplishments have made him one of the most influential figures in the media and business world. His legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for diversity continues to inspire and empower future generations.
BET Founder Bob Johnson’s Philanthropy, Political Commentary, and Personal Life
– In 2011, Bob Johnson partnered with Morgan Freeman to raise funds for hurricane preparedness in the Bahamas.
– Johnson released the RLJ Ella Rose Africa Tie Collection in 2012, a neckwear line benefiting the charitable organization Malaria No More.
– He also established the Liberia Enterprise Development Fund in 2007, providing credit opportunities for Liberian entrepreneurs.
– In 2008, Johnson faced criticism for remarks about Obama during the presidential campaign.
– He later apologized to Obama and his family for the inappropriate comments.
– In 2020, Johnson made comments suggesting support for President Trump.
– Johnson was previously married to Sheila Johnson, with whom he has two children.
– He divorced in 2001 and later dated Lauren Wooden, whom he married in 2016.
– Johnson and Wooden divorced in 2020.
Note: BET refers to Black Entertainment Television, a popular cable network founded by Bob Johnson.