First Black American Billionaire Wants His Reparations Check

Robert L. Johnson, who founded Black Entertainment Television, wants the United States government to pay up $14 trillion in reparations, and he tells Vice News that the money should also come with an apology for slavery, race laws and racism that has affected blacks in this country.

Johnson, America's first black billionaire, says it shouldn't matter how much a black person has earned in life. All blacks should benefit from the reparations.

“Reparations would require the entire country to … admit that the result of slavery has been 200 years of systemic racism and for that reason Black folks have been denied $13-15 trillion of wealth and therefore we as a country now must atone by paying Black people of all stripes —the rich ones, the poor ones, and the middle—out of our pocket,” Johnson said during an interview with Vice.

This isn't the first interview this month in which Johnson has been pushing for the reparations. He told Squawk Box in early June that "wealth transfer is what's needed" in this country to equalize the playing field and from the sound of things, he believes that means just blacks deserve the money.

“Think about this. 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,” he told CNBC.

It's been quite a few years for Johnson, who in 2019 said the Democratic Party had "move too far to the left." During that same interview, Johnson said, "I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching the populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … and so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level."

Now Johnson thinks the best way forward is to pay blacks $14 trillion. That's quite a rollercoaster ride over a two-year period. That's right, over two years Johnson went from saying the economy is doing great to now saying the wealth gap is so off that wealth transfer will solve all the problems in society.

Nowhere does Johnson mention the wealth transfer that occurred when COVID restrictions crushed small businesses and led to black people buying TVs from Walmart and Amazon with government checks. Black businesses were ravaged by COVID closures, according to Forbes, which estimates half of black small businesses closed due to the pandemic. A report from the New York Fed painted a dark picture in August 2020.

"Nationally representative data on small businesses indicate that the number of active business owners fell by 22% from February to April 2020—the largest drop on record," the report states.

I'll be on the lookout for comments from Johnson that he's sick to his stomach that Amazon is sucking up every last dollar of black America while black business shutter at record numbers. Or Walmart.

“Black businesses tend to hire Black people as a whole, so you create more Black businesses, the bounce back is going to more Black jobs,” Johnson told CNBC in February. “More Black jobs mean more Black people paying for home ownership, Black people ... saving for retirement, Black people investing. In the end result, we make a giant step toward closing the huge wealth gap.”

Like I said, it's a rollercoaster trying to keep up with Johnson and his thoughts on closing the wealth gap. One minute reparations will save the day, the next minute the American dream will get the job done. Make up your mind, Bob.


Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.