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Richelieu Dennis And SheaMoisture Is Working To Close The Racial Wealth Gap

The power and potential that lies at the helm of black-owned businesses are incredible.

Author:Emily Sanchez
Reviewer:Elisa Mueller
Jan 13, 2023
The power and potential that lies at the helm of black-owned businesses are incredible. It is even more remarkable that the success of these businesses does not have to be far-fetched. Black wealth has existed for generations, and it is profound that the sons and daughters of the soil yearn to take back the power by channelling funds and directing investors into businesses owned by entrepreneurs of colour.

Back to the Roots.

SheaMoisture is the fruit of seeds planted and nurtured over time by black women. The history of its parent company, Sundial brands, stems from 1912 when Dennis Richelieu's (founder) grandmother began selling shear butter in Sierra Leone.
Sofia Tucker set a foundation for the successful brand, a seed that her grandson has been cultivating for the last 30 years and has grown into ripe fruits of blessing for an otherwise undermined community. In an era where women are fighting for a seat at the table, it is ironic that It is the same women that we acknowledge at the mention of such a prominent business.
Today, SheaMoisture is breaking the racial boundaries of inequality in assets, incomes, and opportunities - otherwise known as the racial wealth gap by creating endless possibilities for Black and Brown entrepreneurs.

Reclaiming the Baton of Wealth

SheaMoistureboasts of being the No.1 multicultural hair brand in the US. In all its glory, the company remains faithful to its founder's mission of creating a space for Black entrepreneurs to grow and thrive. The brand reinvests at least 1% of its annual net income in the Black community through grants, educational programs, donations, and other economic opportunities for the underrepresented.
The company released its 2022 impact report, which featured some remarkable strides, including the following:
  • $100,000 funding for business development support via the Next Black Millionaire Fund.
  • Entrepreneurial education opportunities worth over $900,000.
  • Funding for more than 250 under-resourced, small Black-owned businesses
  • Covid-19 relief for businesses and community's worth over $1 million, and another $1 million in pledges for community resilience
  • Fair wages for more than 53,000 West African women in cooperatives that support the brand's shea butter supply chain.
These initiatives have inspired other businesses to invest in and empower the Black community. Although there is a lot to be done, SheaMoisture is leading others on the right path. According to Cara Sabin - CEO of Sundial Brands - the results of SheaMoisture's efforts illustrate the work that has happened and fundamentally point to the work that awaits. She hopes that the brand will continue to influence others into joining in and championing the promotion of the wealth cycle for future Black generations.

Business as a Source for Good.

For over three decades, Richelieu Dennishas committed his brand to ethical sourcing. The brand chooses to enrich lives and families by purchasing essential raw ingredients from cooperatives in West Africa and empowering women through fair wages and great opportunities.
Additionally, SheaMoisture pays it forward by prioritizing Black-owned businesses on partnerships, collaborations, and events. One remarkable move was when Richelieu signed an acquisition deal with Unilever. The partnership included the creation of the New Voices Fund, which has invested over $100 million in entrepreneurs of colour. Consequently, the brand has created a global movement for an equitable, inclusive, and regenerative economic system.
The future is promising for SheaMoisture. The writing on the wall is clearer than ever that purpose-led business can simultaneously succeed. Even as it aims at becoming a $1 billion brand, the impact of its presence is undeniable. SheaMoisture is indeed a leader when it comes to building Black wealth.
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Emily Sanchez

Emily Sanchez

Emily Sanchez, a Fashion Journalist who graduated from New York University, brings over a decade of experience to her writing. Her articles delve into fashion trends, celebrity culture, and the fascinating world of numerology. Emily's unique perspective and deep industry knowledge make her a trusted voice in fashion journalism. Outside of her work, she enjoys photography, attending live music events, and practicing yoga for relaxation.
Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.
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