black history business

Sharmadean Reid

Sharmadean Reid is a British Jamaican entrepreneur who founded Beautystack and WAH Nails. Her mission is to use technology to empower women, economically, socially and culturally. Reid started WAH (We Ain’t Hoes) while studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at  Central Saint Martins. It began life as a hip hop zine focusing on the new wave of street smart …

black history business

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone was an American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. She was the first female African-American millionaire, and made her fortune founding and developing a cosmetics business to provide products for, and educate and enable African-American women to become financially independent. Malone was born in 1869 in Metropolis, Illinois. She briefly attended public school in …

actor business music

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music. She is the most honoured female country performer of all time. Parton was born in 1946 in Sevier County, Tennessee. From a young age, she would sing in church and at the age of 7 she …

black history business medicine philanthropist

Bridget “Biddy” Mason

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was an African-American nurse, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist. She was able to support her extended family for generations due to her financial success. Mason was born into slavery in 1818 in Mississippi. She was named Bridget and given no last name. Mason was owned by slaveholders in Georgia and South Carolina …

black history business Civil Rights

Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond was a Black Nova Scotian businesswoman who challenged racial segregation at a film theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946. Her actions sparked the modern civil rights movement in Canada. Desmond was born Viola Davis in 1914 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her parents, James Albert and Gwendolin Irene were active in the …

activists artists business fashion feminist

Vivienne Westwood

Dame Vivienne Westwood is an English fashion designer and businesswoman whose early designs helped shape the look of the punk rock movement. Westwood was born Vivienne Isabel Swire in 1941 in Tintwistle, England. Her parents, Gordon and Dora Swire had married two years previously, two weeks after the outbreak of World War II. Westwood attended …

black history business music women in the arts

Missy Elliott

Missy “misdemeanor” Elliott is a Grammy Award-winning singer, rapper, songwriter and producer who has achieved great success while breaking boundaries in the male-dominated world of hip-hop. Missy Elliott was born Melissa Arnette Elliott in 1971 in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was the only child of Patricia, a power-company dispatcher, and father Ronnie, a U.S. Marine. She …

business fashion

Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel is an American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon. Apfel was born Iris Barrel in Astoria, Queens, New York to Samuel Barrel, whose family owned a glass-and-mirror business, and his Russian-born wife, Sadye, who owned a fashion boutique. Apfel studied art history at New York University and then attended art school at the …