Why Is Generational Wealth Missing From Black Business?


Originally written by @millerbymiller

It’s often cliché to say within the black community that we don’t support each other’ or black people don’t have good business acumen’ when things don’t go well, however, these are areas I see in a small minority, whilst there is a majority that do well for a while, but rarely seem to break past the first generation barrier I think I may have identified one of the factors, lack of passing on the baton.,

Many black people business owners have excelled over the last 100 years; they include John Johnson with Ebony Magazine, Berry Gordy with MOTOWN, Robert Johnson with BET, Russell Simmons with Def Jam and The Gardeners of Softsheen – of which have been subsequently sold off to larger corporations with the exception of Ebony who are still family run.

From Many experiences of meeting and speaking to influential black owners, the lack of interest of developing talent both in their own families and individuals from similar backgrounds to one day the legacy of their brands is apparent with many I’ve come across to date. Legacy planning is not a big part of many of their plans for the future.

The distance between the older generation and the younger generation of black people in business is apparent; the lack of member clubs, mentoring schemes, feeder organizations and grassroots programs all highlights how far behind the culture is in relation in its counterparts.

Development within the grassroots of black business is virtually non-existent. Small organizations that do exist don’t have the right level of backing and support from prominent black leaders who have crossed the threshold to mainstream success empowering them with the influence to help  develop the black business stars of tomorrow. This regardless of whether they one day lead their own company or not.

I get the feeling from many black owners of being overly possessive rather than effective legacy planning to hand down the reins to the younger, capable generation  who are more in time with where society is heading and ultimately that business culture as a whole.

who will Oprah hand the reins to? Which one of the music moguls of Diddy, Jay Z, or Dr Dre will do what Berry Gordy didn’t quite do with MOTOWN.

Only time will tell. However, my bet will be on the emerging market of African entrepreneurs to develop wealth and successfully hand the business reins down to the next generation.

Chris Rock famously summarized this in one of his comedy sketches as being the difference between ‘Rich and Wealthy’. Couldn’t have put it better – Chris Rock – Wealthy and Rich.



Goke Alabi

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