- NAME: Robert L. Johnson
- OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur
- BIRTH DATE: April 08, 1946 (Age: 67)
- Did You Know?: Robert L. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television, the first cable network focusing on African Americans, with wife Sheila in 1979.
- Did You Know?: In 1991, BET became the first African American-owned company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Did You Know?: In 2001, Robert L. Johnson became the first African-American billionaire.
- Did You Know?: Robert L. Johnson is the first black individual to be named on one of Forbes' "world's richest" lists.
- Did You Know?: In 2002, Robert L. Johnson became first black U.S. principal owner of a North American major-league sports franchise (the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats).
- EDUCATION: Freeport High School, University of Illinois, Princeton University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hickory, Mississippi
- Nickname: Bob Johnson
- AKA: Robert L. Johnson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aries
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Robert L. Johnson is an American entrepreneur best known as the founder of the BET channel and as the country’s first African-American billionaire.
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With innovative ideas and charismatic personalities, many African-Americans have made lasting contributions to the country, while also earning millions. Oprah Winfrey emerged as a world-famous one-woman brand with her show, eventually becoming the world's first black billionaire. Robert L. Johnson started BET, the cable channel geared towards African-Americans. Athlete Michael Jordan turned into a household name through numerous endorsement deals. These people were among the first African-Americans to overcome the obstacles of discrimination and achieve top honors in their fields. With talent and determination, each one reinvented not only what it meant to be an African-American, but also what it meant to be an American.
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From stereotypical roles as maids and cooks to Academy Award-winning performances in blockbuster movies, African Americans have come a long way in the world of film and television. Early stars like Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel may have been the first actors to win awards for their stellar performances, but modern-day actors such as Denzel Washington and Halle Berry are still breaking new ground as the first African Americans to win Oscars, Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards in certain categories. Learn more about the African-American actors who became the first to change the fabric of film and TV with their dramatic performances.
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Who was the first African-American boxing champ? How about World Cycling champ? Who was the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal? What year did Jackie Robinson break baseball's color barrier? Who was Althea Gibson and what first did she achieve? Detail our collection of pioneering African-American athletes for the answers to these and many more questions, and explore our African-American Firsts: Athletes photos gallery.
African-American Firsts: Athletes 37 people in this group