Pro-Reparations Bob Johnson Says Black History Month Needs To Be Refocused On The Future: Wealth Transfer To Black Americans

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Robert Johnson
Pro-Reparations Bob Johnson Says Black History Month Needs To Be Refocused On The Future: Wealth Transfer To Black Americans. Photo: BET chairman and founder Robert Johnson attends a news conference, Aug. 12, 1999, in New York. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

As America highlights the contributions of Black Americans, billionaire BET founder Robert ‘Bob’ Johnson said Black History Month’s focus should be broadened to include the future of Black wealth in the country.

“I think it’s time that we meld Black History with something called Black Futures because we’ve told the story over and over again of Black achievements against the odds,” Johnson said during an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box. “Now we need to start talking about, ‘What can Black people contribute this country if they had a future as bright economically as the future is for white Americans.’”

He added while it was important for both Black and white Americans to acknowledge the past, they shouldn’t stop there. Rather, they should be actively thinking about their future contributions to help close the wealth gap.

“I’m suggesting that we start calling February … ‘Black history, Black futures,’” Johnson said. “Let Black Americans talk about what they want to achieve in the future for their country and their families. And let White Americans talk about what they’re prepared to do and what they’re willing to do or what they’re doing, to make the future brighter for Black Americans.”

“Don’t deny history, but it’s better to know where you’re going than where you’ve been,” Johnson added.

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Johnson has always been outspoken about Black progression in America. He founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the 1980s and became the country’s first Black billionaire in 2001 when he sold BET to Viacom.

Also a staunch advocate for reparations for slavery, last year Johnson called on the U.S. government to write a check for $14 trillion to help pay the debt owed to descendants of slaves. He even went on a reparations tour during which he discussed his ideas around the topic with various media outlets.

“Is $14 trillion too much to ask for the atonement of 200-plus years of brutal slavery, de facto and de jure government-sponsored social and economic discrimination and the permanent emotional trauma inflicted upon Black Americans by being forced to believe in a hypocritical and unfulfilled pledge that ‘all men are created equal’?” Johnson said in a press release