Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET and the second richest Black woman in the United States, bared her soul in a recent CBS Mornings interview, delving into her latest novel, “Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph,” which is now available for purchase.
The book provides a detailed look into her life, including her once-marital relationship with Robert Johnson, with whom she co-founded BET. Johnson’s memoir deconstructs the life lessons she’s learned over her outstanding career. She and Robert Johnson co-founded BET in 1980, only to sell it for over $3 billion two decades later. This historic transaction established Sheila Johnson as the first African-American female billionaire in the United States, however she admits that her meteoric rise was not without challenges.
“I have been on a journey of trying to find myself, and to write this book has been therapy, and it’s really helping me to heal. I’ve been through a lot,” she said, also revealing she has post-traumatic stress (PTSD).
Johnson’s memoir also discusses the numerous “acts” of her life, emphasizing her tenacity and adaptability. She used to be a concert violinist before she became a media entrepreneur. Indeed, during the early days of BET, she sold her cherished violin to raise funding for the network and secure office space. She was also the driving force behind creative programs such as Teen Summit.
“There was a lot of sacrifice and I continued to work all through that period for hours and hours teaching the violin, running back and forth performing,” she said
Johnson is currently the CEO of the acclaimed Salamander Hotels & Resorts. Furthermore, she has the distinction of being the lone Black co-owner of three major professional sports teams in Washington, D.C.: the NBA’s Wizards, the WNBA’s Mystics, and the NHL’s Capitals.
Sheila Johnson is the richest black woman in the United States, trailing only Oprah Winfrey.
Her net worth is estimated to be $840 million by Forbes.