BLACK ENTERPRISE covered some of the biggest black news stories in 2018 surrounding business and career. Spotify and Google put out a massive call for women of color podcasters. An NBA team got its first black woman CEO. A young man made history as Pennsylvania’s youngest judge ever. And this successful black entrepreneur paid it forward creating a massive fund for black women-owned businesses.
For every piece of negative news about the black community, there are many often untold stories of achievement, success, and giving back. Take a look at our 15 biggest black news stories of 2018.
Top Black News Stories of 2018
As a student at Penn State University, Hanif Johnson, then the president of Omega Psi Phi was charged with assault in connection with a hazing allegation that earned him three weeks in jail. Although he wasn’t found guilty of the most serious charges, a judge still handed him two summary harassment charges. In 2018, he became the youngest elected judge in the state of Pennsylvania winning the magisterial seat over Republican Claude Phipps by a 73% margin in Dauphin County.
Hair weaves and extensions, traditionally donned by women, are a big business, especially with black consumers and particularly with women of color. A black barber based out of Maryland, is making a lucrative business creating hair weaves for men. Thirty-five-year-old barber Wade Menendez glues natural and synthetic hair to balding men’s scalps and then styles them into their remaining hair.
13. SHEAMOISTURE FOUNDER LAUNCHES $100 MILLION FUND FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS OF COLOR AT ESSENCE FESTIVAL
SheaMoisture haircare and skincare products founder Richelieu Dennis announced a $100 million fund for women entrepreneurs of color at the 2018 Essence Festival. The announcement was part of Dennis’ vow to create an investment fund for minority entrepreneurs, specifically women of color.
Four young and focused black men partnered up to create Harlem Capital and take on the task of funding black and brown business founders. Their goal: Invest in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.
Mellody Hobson, one of the most respected and knowledgeable black business leaders, was appointed vice chair at Starbucks when longtime chairman Howard Schultz stepped down in June. The ubiquitous coffee chain had a tumultuous year, marked with the scandal of the arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia stores.
NBA superstar LeBron James debuted his latest Nike collaboration, revealing that they were inspired and designed by African American women. The sneakers were unveiled at Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) style awards and fashion show, an annual event that celebrates people of color in fashion and empowers minority designers with a platform to showcase their collections during New York Fashion Week.
In July, Maurice Stinnett became the first black man to be appointed as vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at an NBA team with BSE Global. The company—which was formerly known as Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment Global—develops and operates state-of-the-art venues and manages premier sports franchises, including the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, NHL’s New York Islanders, and the Barclays Center.
Malachi Jones, a 17-year-old wunderkind, was awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Jones joined a prestigious group of former youth winners, now all household names, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King.
In September, the SBA and the Milken Institute announced the Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets (PLUM) initiative. This trailblazing program is designed to develop and test initiatives that will provide capital to minority owned-businesses more effectively, throughout the United States.
Cynthia Marshall, a leading black business executive, was named interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of a scathing article exposing the basketball organization’s culture of sexual harassment against women, is about to give a whole new meaning to the idea of March Madness.
Although our original report on this news was in December 2017, we followed up in 2018 on the program designed to revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Maryland. Local councilmembers and community advocates pushed for a government program that would sell thousands of vacant buildings in Baltimore for $1 each. In turn, buyers would have to promise to refurbish and live in the properties for a certain period of time.
With the launch of the Google Podcasts app in June, the company is working to make it easier for people around the world to find and access podcasts. Alongside the app, Google has launched its Podcasts creator program, which aims to support these underrepresented podcasters and make it easier for people to learn how to get into this growing medium.
Newscaster and TV host Tamron Hall left NBC’s ‘Today’ show in 2017, but her career is far from over. In fact, it’s been reborn. In this interview, Hall speaks about her post-Today show life and the plans for her new show.
Melissa Harville-Lebron never imagined her entrepreneurial pursuits and ambitions would lead her to make history as the first African American woman to solely own a race team licensed by NASCAR. Read her compelling story.
In 2018, Spotify launched Sound Up Bootcamp, a weeklong intensive program for aspiring female podcasters of color. The company covered all expenses for a five-day workshop, which included panels, and activities around podcasting, led by experts and professionals. Travel to New York City, six nights of hotel, and breakfast and lunch were all included. Catch up on the finalists and winners here and be sure to follow Black Enterprise for Spotify’s 2019 Sound Up Bootcamp entry.