General Michael Langley

(BBR) In a momentous leap towards progress and equality, the United States Marine Corps has achieved a significant milestone with the appointment of General Michael Langley as its first Black four-star general. This historic event not only marks a triumph for General Langley but also stands as a testament to the Marine Corps' commitment to diversity and inclusion within its ranks.

General Langley's journey to this esteemed position has been characterized by dedication, resilience, and exemplary leadership. His rise through the ranks serves as an inspiration to countless individuals, regardless of their background, reaffirming the principle that hard work, skill, and determination can shatter barriers and pave the way for groundbreaking achievements.

Langley's achievement is a significant step forward in the Marine Corps' ongoing efforts to foster an environment that values diversity and promotes equal opportunities for all its members. His appointment highlights the organization's commitment to recognizing and promoting talent irrespective of race, thereby setting a powerful example for other branches of the military and institutions worldwide.

This groundbreaking accomplishment holds profound implications for the broader context of American society. General Langley's ascension to the rank of four-star general challenges preconceived notions, dispels stereotypes, and underscores the importance of embracing diversity in all aspects of public service. His success sends a resounding message: the United States Armed Forces are committed to reflecting the rich tapestry of the nation they serve and protect.

General Langley's achievement also serves as a source of pride and inspiration for the African American community, showcasing that barriers can be broken, and ceilings shattered through unwavering determination and exceptional performance. His story resonates far beyond the military sphere, reminding everyone that no dream is too grand, and no goal is unattainable with hard work and perseverance.

Furthermore, General Langley's appointment is a significant stride towards building a more inclusive future for all individuals, irrespective of their race, color, or creed. It reinforces the idea that diversity is not just a buzzword but a cornerstone of a thriving, harmonious society. By recognizing and celebrating the talents and capabilities of individuals from all backgrounds, societies can tap into a wealth of perspectives, ideas, and experiences, fostering innovation, understanding, and unity.

In conclusion, General Michael Langley's groundbreaking achievement as the Marine Corps' first Black four-star general is a momentous occasion in the annals of American military history. It signifies not only a personal triumph but also a collective victory for diversity, equality, and inclusion. His story serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a future where merit knows no boundaries and where every individual has the opportunity to rise, excel, and make history.

Commanders owner Magic Johnson

(BBR) The business empire of Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has just grown by leaps and bounds.


It already has included a chain of movie theaters, restaurants, a slew of Starbucks locations and a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers. But now, Johnson is officially also a part-owner of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.

He wasted no time in distancing his new regime, which includes billionaire investor Josh Harris, from the old regime headed by the controversial Daniel Snyder. He let it be known that team employees will be treated with respect and that they’ll be safe at work, two things that weren’t true under Snyder.

In an interview with Craig Melvin of NBC’s “Today,” Johnson choked up while talking about setting a positive example for the African-American community.

 “I would look at it, for sure. Listen, breaking these barriers, just going through these doors, is important to me. As a proud Black man — you’ve got me choking up now,” he said, fighting back tears.

“This is a great opportunity. I don’t know why God blessed me with these opportunities, but I’m going to excel, not only for myself, but my family, but for all African Americans, making sure we can see (ourselves) in these seats. And I want people to know that we can do the job.”

Through his business empire, the five-time NBA champion has created plenty of opportunities for Black individuals, especially those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through it all, he has been a huge inspiration and a beacon of positivity and hope.

Understanding the Debt Ceiling

(BBR)  As May 31, 2023, looms closer, the United States faces a critical juncture regarding the debt ceiling. The need to pass the debt ceiling becomes increasingly urgent, highlighting the pressing importance of fiscal responsibility. In this article, we delve into the significance of passing the debt ceiling on May 31, exploring the potential consequences of inaction and emphasizing the need for bipartisan cooperation to ensure economic stability.

Understanding the Debt Ceiling: The debt ceiling serves as a crucial mechanism for the government to maintain control over its borrowing capacity and prevent excessive spending. It establishes a limit on the total amount of money the United States government can borrow to finance its obligations. When the outstanding debt approaches this limit, Congress must pass legislation to raise or suspend the ceiling, allowing the Treasury to continue borrowing funds to meet financial obligations.

Consequences of Inaction:

  1. Risk of default: Failing to raise the debt ceiling by May 31 would have severe consequences, including the risk of defaulting on the nation's obligations. This scenario would force the government to prioritize certain payments, potentially leading to missed payments on debts, Social Security benefits, and other critical programs. Defaulting on debt payments could tarnish the country's creditworthiness, trigger a global financial crisis, and have long-lasting negative impacts on the economy.

  2. Economic instability: Inaction on the debt ceiling would sow seeds of economic instability. It would disrupt government operations, delay payments to contractors and employees, and jeopardize the funding of essential programs and services. The resulting uncertainty could undermine investor confidence, leading to volatile financial markets and hindering economic growth. The potential consequences would reverberate beyond U.S. borders, affecting global markets and trade relations.

  3. Increased borrowing costs: A failure to pass the debt ceiling would increase borrowing costs for the government. Lenders may demand higher interest rates to compensate for the heightened risk associated with an uncertain debt situation. The burden of higher interest payments would divert funds from other important areas, such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare, further exacerbating fiscal challenges and hindering long-term economic development.

Bipartisan Cooperation for Economic Stability: The looming deadline for passing the debt ceiling necessitates urgent bipartisan cooperation to ensure economic stability and protect the country's financial reputation. It is crucial for lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to set aside political differences and prioritize the nation's well-being over short-term gains. Constructive dialogue, compromise, and a commitment to responsible fiscal management are essential to navigate this critical period successfully.

  1. Urgent negotiations: Lawmakers must engage in immediate negotiations to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, leaving political posturing aside. Prompt action is required to prevent a potential economic crisis and provide certainty to businesses, consumers, and investors.

  2. Long-term fiscal reforms: While passing the debt ceiling is crucial for immediate stability, it is equally vital to address the underlying fiscal challenges facing the nation. Policymakers should explore long-term fiscal reforms, including measures to reduce spending, enhance revenue streams, and promote sustainable economic growth.

  3. Transparent communication: Open and transparent communication with the public is crucial during this process. Educating citizens about the debt ceiling, its implications, and the need for timely action can help foster understanding and support for necessary measures.

Conclusion: As the May 31, 2023 deadline for passing the debt ceiling approaches, the United States stands at a critical crossroads. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would have severe consequences, risking default, economic instability, and increased borrowing costs. It is imperative for lawmakers to prioritize the nation's economic well-being over political differences and take prompt action to ensure economic stability. Through bipartisan cooperation, responsible fiscal management, and a commitment to long-term reforms.

The Impact of Uncertainty:

(BBR)  The debt ceiling is an integral component of fiscal policy, serving as a statutory limit on the amount of debt the government can incur. However, this seemingly routine legislative measure carries profound economic implications. From financial market volatility to potential disruptions in government operations, the debt ceiling has far-reaching consequences that demand careful consideration. This article aims to explore the economic perspective surrounding the debt ceiling and shed light on its complexities.

The Impact of Uncertainty:

One of the immediate effects of the debt ceiling debate is the introduction of uncertainty into financial markets. When the government approaches its borrowing limit, concerns arise regarding its ability to meet its obligations. Investors demand higher yields to compensate for the increased risk, resulting in higher borrowing costs for the government. The ensuing market volatility can have ripple effects on business and consumer confidence, potentially hindering investment and consumption, and impeding overall economic growth.

Fiscal Policy Limitations:

The debt ceiling can also constrain the government's capacity to implement fiscal policies effectively. During economic downturns, governments often employ expansionary fiscal measures to stimulate the economy. These may include increased government spending or tax cuts to encourage investment and consumer spending. However, a binding debt ceiling restricts the government's ability to enact such policies, rendering them less potent in combating economic hardships. This limitation calls for a delicate balance between managing debt and pursuing economic recovery.

Government Debt and Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability:

The debt ceiling is intricately linked to the broader issue of government debt. A high level of debt poses risks to economic stability and growth. As government debt increases, it can crowd out private investment by absorbing available capital, driving up interest rates for businesses and consumers. This crowding-out effect can stifle economic activity and hamper long-term growth prospects. Furthermore, a substantial debt burden erodes confidence in the economy and raises concerns about the government's fiscal sustainability, potentially leading to higher borrowing costs and further economic strain.

Avoiding Default and Financial Fallout:

Perhaps the most severe consequence of breaching the debt ceiling is the risk of default on financial obligations. A failure to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner could lead to a government shutdown or an inability to pay interest on existing debt. The consequences of defaulting on debt payments would be catastrophic, including disruptions in financial markets, a loss of investor confidence, and a potential downgrade in the country's credit rating. Such outcomes can trigger a severe economic downturn and have lasting repercussions for years to come.


The debt ceiling, while often seen as a routine legislative procedure, holds immense economic significance. Its impact on financial markets, the constraints it places on fiscal policy, and its implications for government debt and long-term fiscal sustainability cannot be underestimated. Balancing the need for responsible debt management with the pursuit of economic growth and stability is a formidable challenge. Policymakers must navigate this delicate balancing act with prudence and foresight to ensure the economic well-being of the nation.

By understanding the economic ramifications of the debt ceiling, we can foster informed discussions and decisions surrounding this crucial aspect of fiscal policy. Only by approaching this complex issue with a comprehensive understanding of its implications can we strive to achieve a stable and prosperous economic future.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. Please consult with a professional advisor or relevant authority for specific guidance on the debt ceiling and its implications

Leslie D. Hale is the RLJ Lodging Trust's CEO. RLJ Lodging Trust

(BBR)  Companies that went public and how they’re doing

Which are the top Black-owned businesses in the United States today? With many successful businesses privately held—and not required to report detailed information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—this report focuses on publicly traded companies.

  • Of the 5.8 million employer businesses in the United States in October 2020, 140,918 were Black-owned.
  • Ninety-six percent of Black-owned businesses were nonemployer firms, compared to 80% of all small businesses. Thirty-two percent of Black-owned employer firms were in the healthcare and social services sector.
  • Black entrepreneurs face obstacles such as a limited access to startup capital, less managerial and industry experience, and operating in lower-revenue industries.
  • RLJ Lodging Trust, one of the largest publicly owned Black businesses, reported total assets of $5.92 billion in June 2020.

Public vs. Private

Many of the world’s most successful businesses are publicly traded companies, such as Amazon, which originally went public in 1997 and has a net worth of $982.62 billion as of Jan. 26, 2022.12 That said, some very successful companies chose to stay private to avoid the scrutiny and regulations that come with going public. Cargill, for instance, has been in operation and remained private since 1965; as of 2022, the global food corporation has already pulled in $165 billion in revenue.34 Granted, this operational privacy comes at the cost of not being able to sell stock on a public exchange, which could help a company grow even further.


As privately held companies aren’t required to meet the SEC’s strict filing requirements, it can be difficult to get specific information about the success of a privately held business. Public companies, however, must comply with SEC rules; this allows us to learn a lot more about them. Unfortunately, the SEC only requires businesses to disclose financial performance data, which wouldn’t include the shareholder demographics needed to ascertain whether or not a company is minority-owned.


In another demonstration of the long-term economic effects of systemic racism, only an estimated 140,918 of the approximately 5.8 million employer businesses in the United States in November 2022 were Black-owned. That’s around 2.44% of employer businesses.5 Yet the 41.1 million Black people living in the U.S. at the end of 2020 comprised 12.4% of the total population.6


When you get to public companies, the numbers are even smaller: Of the 4,300 public companies in the U.S. reported by American Council for Capital Formation in June 2022, we found seven Black-owned companies. That comes to approximately 0.16% of public companies.7


What Makes a Business Black-Owned?

One complication with classifying the ownership of any public company is that it has stockholders. What makes a public company—or any business—Black-owned? The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) defines a minority business enterprise (MBE) as a “business [that] is at least 51% owned by [United States citizens who are Asian, Black, Hispanic, and/or Native American] or, in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals.” Simply put, the management and daily operations should be controlled by the minority owner(s)/shareholder(s). The NMSDC further clarifies that a Black-owned business is one whose owner is a “U.S. citizen of African descent,” which would include both African Americans and African immigrants.8


Despite defining what constitutes a minority-owned public company, the NMSDC doesn’t offer any concrete data on the number of active Black-owned public companies in the U.S., nor is that information readily available from other official sources. All companies were included in this article based primarily on self-reporting themselves as Black-owned public companies.

“I would make a caveat for a situation where somebody owns less than 51% of the shares, but they were equal partners,” says Shomari Wills, a journalist and the author of Black Fortunes, one of Ebony magazine’s True Read picks of 2018. “Also, I would make a caveat for situations where somebody was a minority stakeholder—not the owner, but they were operating as the managing partner of the company.”


And here are two other terms that help define the market:

  1. Based on the most recent U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners, 96% of Black-owned businesses were nonemployer firms, compared to 80% of all small businesses.9 Nonemployer firms are defined as “businesses that that have no paid employees and are subject to federal income tax.” As these firms are generally small and have minimal economic impact, they are left out of most other Census Bureau business statistics, making it difficult to acquire a full picture of the Black business landscape in the U.S.1011
  2. The remaining 4% of Black-owned businesses are employer firms.12 According to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey, 29.5% of Black-owned employer firms were in the healthcare and social services sector.5

“I think [the healthcare and social services sectors] lend themselves to community-based businesses, which have a pretty extensive history... Providing local services or community-based services is something that goes back all the way to segregation when you couldn’t necessarily go and open a business downtown if you were a Black person, so you had to look at businesses that you could operate within your own community,” Wills explains.


Some of those community-based businesses have grown into major companies, and two of the seven top Black-owned public companies that we identified are in the healthcare sector.


Particular Challenges Facing Black-owned Businesses

In 1992, there were 621,912 Black-owned businesses in the U.S.13 By 2012, that number rose to 2.58 million, before decreasing to 1.1 million by 2020 (pre-pandemic).14 Two months later, this number had fallen to 640,000.15 Periods of ups and downs are common to all businesses. However, Black entrepreneurs continue to encounter unique obstacles that make it difficult to reach the same level of success as many of their competitors, such as a limited access to startup capital, fewer useful connections, and operating in lower-revenue industries.16


Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, published in 1945 by two American sociologists, is considered a foundational work on the subject of African American sociology and cultural studies. It influenced generations of scholars and activists and is a key resource for investigating the impact of redlining, racial bias in medical-care decision-making tools, and the history of lending discrimination in the United States.


Approximately 44% of Black business owners rely on cash to fund their business, compared to 37% for the average small business owner.17 Cash is a riskier means of financing a business, as it dips into funds also needed for essential items and paying bills, whereas a commercial loan allows business owners to retain much of their liquid assets. But getting access to loans isn’t easy.


In 2018, the likelihood of large banks approving at least some financing for White-owned firms was 64.8%, compared to 44.8% for their Black-owned counterparts.18 Additionally, in 2017, banks were also three times as likely to follow up with White applicants than with more qualified Black business owners.19 In 2014, 28.4% of Black entrepreneurs found that their profits were negatively impacted by their access to capital, while 22.6% were themselves negatively impacted by the actual cost of capital.20


As reported by The Business Journals, since peaking prior to the 2007–2008 financial crisis, the annual number of loans to Black-owned businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program decreased by 84% in 2020, compared to a 53% decline in 7(a) loans awarded overall. The report found an overall trend of significantly less lending to businesses in Black-majority neighborhoods, compared to White-majority ones. Orv Kimbrough, chief executive officer (CEO) of Midwest BankCentre, referred to this issue as “corporate redlining.”21


Black business owners have less access to the types of mentor and peer networks that can help grow a business—and they are less likely to have family connections who can help. In a 2017 survey conducted by Prosperity Now, 23.3% of White firm owners gained prior work experience as part of a family member’s business, compared to 12.6% of Black entrepreneurs.22


Cash Flow

Black firms are more frequently found in industries with a lower earning potential, including beauty salons, childcare, home healthcare services, janitorial services, and barbershops. And even in these sectors, White businesses still tend to earn more than competing Black-owned businesses.23


Meanwhile, Black businesses in more lucrative sections—including physician and mental health offices, plumbing and heating/air conditioning contractors, offices of lawyers, and full-service restaurants—also earn less than White counterparts.23


Overall, Black-owned firms averaged $58,000 in revenue in 2017, while White businesses averaged $546,000.24


Publicly Traded Black-owned Businesses

Amid—and despite—these challenges, some Black-owned businesses have become substantial public companies. Below are some of the biggest publicly traded Black-owned businesses, organized according to total assets.


They operate in a variety of sectors: healthcare, finance, broadcasting, and technology. One was founded in 1921, two were founded in the 1940s, two in 1979–1980, and the rest are 21st century companies.


RLJ Lodging Trust

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $4.97 billion25
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): $891.47 million26
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $0.1026
  • Year Founded: 200027
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.28

The most successful company listed here, RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ), is a real estate investment trust with a portfolio consisting of 96 hotels across 23 states and the District of Columbia. Founded by Robert L. Johnson and Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. in 2000 as RLJ Development, RLJ Lodging focuses on “premium-branded, focused-service and compact full-service hotels” to capitalize on their upside potential. RLJ wasn’t publicly traded until 2011. In 2017, it completed a merger with FelCor Lodging Trust, allowing it to acquire 37 additional properties. The company’s portfolio includes several well-known brands, such as Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hyatt Place, and Wyndham.27


Urban One

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $1.25 billion29
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): $352.56 million30
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $0.0930
  • Year Founded: 197931
  • Headquarters: Silver Spring, Md.32

Originally founded by Cathy Hughes as Almic Broadcasting in 1979, Radio One started out with just a single station: WOL-AM in Washington, D.C. In 1987, Radio One added an FM station to its roster: WMMJ, also in Washington, D.C. Twelve years later, Radio One sold its first shares of common stock, making Hughes the first African American woman to head a publicly traded company. From 1999 to 2000, Radio One purchased an additional 35 radio stations. By the time the company changed its name to Urban One (UONE and UONEK) in 2017, it had expanded into a multimedia conglomerate, with brands including a television network (TV One, launched in 2004), two radio groups—one local, one syndicated (the latter, Reach Media, was acquired in 2005), a digital media company (One Digital, launched in 2007), and a branded content agency (One Solution, created in 2008).31 It would later add a television-focused digital magazine, CLEO TV, in 2019.33


Broadway Financial Corp.

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $1.17 billion34
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): $25.61 million35
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $0.0635
  • Year Founded: 194736
  • Headquarters: Los Angeles37

Broadway Financial Corp. (BYFC) is the holding company for City First Bank, a federally chartered savings bank.38 Broadway Federal Bank was founded in 1947 as the Broadway Federal Savings and Loan Association by a group of Los Angeles civic leaders, including real estate broker H.A. Howard and dentist Dr. H. Claude Hudson. In 2021, Broadway Federal Bank merged with City First Bank, which made it the largest Black-owned minority depository institution (MDI) in the U.S. The Treasury Department has designated the bank as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), due to its dedication to serving those who otherwise would be locked out of the financial system.36


Ping Identity Holding

  • Total Assets (June 2022): $1.13 billion39
  • Total Revenue (June 2022): $156.72 million40
  • Earnings per Share (June 2022): $(0.81)40
  • Year Founded: 200241
  • Headquarters: Denver42

Founded by Andre Durand in 2002, Ping Identity Holding (PING) specializes in a wide variety of digital and online identity protection services through its trademarked Ping Intelligent Identity platform, including multifactor authentication, intelligent access controls, and identity data management.4344 Vista Equity Partners bought out the company in 2016 and later took it public in 2019.41 Ping Identity Holding has an impressive clientele, which includes five of the top North American retailers, seven of the largest healthcare companies, and 13 of the largest U.S. banks.44


Carver Bancorp

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $755.72 million45
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): $13.10 million46
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $(0.43)46
  • Year Founded: 194847
  • Headquarters: New York City48

Much like Broadway Financial Corp., Carver Bancorp (CARV) is the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, another federally chartered savings bank and CDFI. Founded by a group of community leaders and small business owners in 1948, Carver offers consumer and business banking products and services to traditionally underserved African American communities.49


Axsome Therapeutics

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $338.96 million50
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): N/A51
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $(3.17)52
  • Year Founded: 201253
  • Headquarters: New York City54

The largest company in the healthcare sector on this list, Axsome Therapeutics (AXSM), is a biopharmaceutical firm. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Herriot Tabuteau, Axsome focuses on the development of novel therapies for managing central nervous system (CNS) disorders, for which treatment options are limited.55 The conditions that Axsome Therapeutics’ products are designed to treat include migraines, narcolepsy, fibromyalgia, major depressive disorder (MDD), and Alzheimer’s disease-related agitation, in addition to smoking cessation treatment.56


American Shared Hospital Services

  • Total Assets (September 2022): $43.41 million57
  • Total Revenue (September 2022): $14.71 million58
  • Earnings per Share (September 2022): $0.1758
  • Year Founded: 198059
  • Headquarters: San Francisco60

American Shared Hospital Services (AMS) operates within the technological side of the healthcare industry by providing equipment to hospitals and medical centers.61 Although predecessor and California limited partnership Ernest A. Bates, M.D., Ltd. (d/b/a American Shared Hospital Services) was originally formed in 1980, American Shared Hospital Services wasn’t incorporated until 1983.59 The company offers several different financing solutions so that medical institutions can afford the state-of-the-art medical technology that ordinarily might be out of their reach.62 American Shared Hospital Services specializes in leasing radiosurgery, proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT), and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) equipment.63 Through its GK Financing subsidiary, American Shared Hospital Services is also the worldwide leader in Gamma Knife unit ownership, with the associated financing model having been expanded to incorporate the financing of other technology solutions, such as IMRT and PBRT.62


How many Black-owned companies are publicly traded?

According to our research, there are currently seven Black-owned public companies in the U.S.: RLJ Lodging Trust, Urban One, Broadway Financial Corp., Ping Identity Holding, Carver Bancorp, Axsome Therapeutics, and American Shared Hospital Services. Some Black-owned companies that were previously publicly traded are now subsidiaries of other businesses, such as such as Global Blood Therapeutics, which was acquired by Pfizer in October 2022.64


What is the largest Black-owned public company?

With total assets of $4.97 billion as of September 30, 2022, real estate investment trust RLJ Lodging is the largest Black-owned public businesses in the U.S.25


What is the oldest Black-owned company?

Founded in 1881, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co. is the oldest African-American-owned business in the U.S. Based in North Carolina, E.E. Ward is owned by husband and wife Brian and Dominique Brooks.65


The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an alternative way to support Black-owned businesses outside of purchasing goods and/or services, consider one of these companies for your portfolio.


Directories of Black-Owned Businesses

For more information on the vast number of businesses with Black ownership, consult the following websites:

Hire a Pro: Compare 3 Financial Advisors Near You
Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is legally bound to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.