Billionaire Or Not: Bob Johnson Wants His 40 Acres And A Mule

By: KERSHAW ST. JAWNSON & Associated Press

Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, member of Boule, member of The Carlyle Group and the man who created that company from his own hard own blood, sweat, and tears, believes that money should be paid to the descendants of slaves — despite having his own level of economic liberty.

He said on CNBC, Squawk Box, a “wealth transfer is what’s needed,” to heal the country’s racial divide that is at the forefront of the plethora of things that has not made this country great.

“Think about this,” Johnson said, “Since 200-plus-years or so of slavery, labor taken with no compensation, is a wealth transfer. Denial of access to education, which is a primary driver of accumulation of income and wealth, is a wealth transfer.”

Johnson said that the $14 trillion of reparations for the enslavement of Africans in America would help reduce racial inequality.

It was less than 20 years ago when Johnson became the 2nd Black billionaire (Reginald Lewis, was the 1st) in the nation. After selling BET, the network that he founded in 1980, to Viacom he broke a historical glass ceiling.

And despite getting cut by the shards that come from being the first, he still has empowered other people of color and women and now says that reparations are equivalent to an “affirmative action program” that would pay “damages” that are owed to Black Americans. 

He also said he was not trying to see programs, but wants the country to cough up some dough. 

“I’m talking about cash,” he said, “We are a society based on wealth. That’s the foundation of capitalism.”

Johnson, 74, is currently the head of The RLJ Companies which is a holding company with a portfolio that includes hotel real estate investment, private equity, asset management, and car dealerships.

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