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In The Presence of Black Excellence

A Roll Call To Black Excellence

Pharrell Williams’ video Entrepreneur- featuring Jay-Z shines a light on history making black entrepreneurs. Williams issues the challenge that, “You can do it.” In the background we hear the words:

“I am black ambition.

 I am always whispering.

 They keep telling me I will not.

 And my will won’t listen….”

What follows next is nothing short of a black roll call to excellence. Williams names entrepreneurs in the restaurant business, educational field, creators of feminine products, healthcare, cleaning products, etc. These inspiring individuals are the designers, inventors, and CEO’s of all featured businesses. They aren’t just “some day”, they are NOW. They are the owners and the dreamers. 

The list features black entrepreneurs from several countries including: United States;Tel-Aviv, Israel; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; Tokyo, Japan; Aberdeenshire, Scotland and Paris, France. 

A few of the black entrepreneurs featured in the video are:

  • TyAnthony Davis founder of Vox Collegiate Junior High

  • Tyler founder of Odd Future

  • Vincent & Arlene Williams owners of Honey’s Kettle (which has expanded twice during the Covid-19 pandemic)

  • Iddris Sandu has written algorithms for Snap Chat, Uber,  and Instagram

  • Beatrice Dixon founder of Honey Pots a natural feminine product line

  • Arthell and Darnell Isom creators of the first black owned anime studio in Tokyo, Japan

  • Issa Rae who built her empire from filming low budget web series

  • Denise Woodard of Partake Cookies (she was turned down by 86 investors except Jay-Z)

  • Chef Aisa’s vegan soul food restaurant My Two Cents

  • Angela Richardson used homemade cleaning goods to create a full retail line of cleaning supplies

  • Debbie Allen CEO of Tribe Midwifery

One verse that stands out in the song states that

“You wasn’t supposed to make it off section eight….”

We’re then treated to a dance by Robert Hartwell, broadway star who purchased his ancestral slave home for $400,000 cash. As well as saluted by Nicholas Johnson, the first black valedictorian of Princeton.

Your mission should you choose to accept it is: To be whatever you want to be.

“If you want to fly, take the leap.” 


By: Wymanette Castaneda

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