Mellody Hobson stopped apologizing for being a Black woman
Mellody Hobson is the president of Ariel Investments, the country’s largest minority-owned investment firm. Hobson is also married to one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, George Lucas. But Hobson hasn’t forgotten about her roots and during a recent speech at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference, Hobson discussed the moment she stopped apologizing for being black.
Her epiphany came when she attended the funeral of John Johnson, who started Ebony and Jet magazines. One of the eulogists got up and said, “He was unapologetically black.” It stopped Hobson in her tracks. “It me so hard,” she said. She realized that she had “been apologizing for who I am, about being a woman, and about being black—and it stops today.”
Hobson said that a lot of people think that because we have a black president, we live in a post-racial America. “This is laughable,” she added. “If you are a person of color it’s hard to explain what we deal with on day-to-day basis.”
Hobson, who was raised by a single mother, said her mother made sure to instill in her that life wasn’t going to be easy, and this was something that white women were never told. Although Hobson’s current life is drastically different from growing up dealing with evictions and utilities being shut off, she credits the fact that she saw her mother’s struggle with money as a reason why she wanted to learn all she could about finances.
As a new mother, Hobson stated that she wants her daughter to be proud of her and wants her to understand that certain opportunities are available to her, that she didn’t have growing up as a kid.
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