Joan Johnson, Co-Founder of Black Hair Company That Made Afro Sheen & Ultra Sheen, Dies at 89
Joan Johnson, co-founder of the black hair care company that brought us such iconic products as Afro Sheen and Ultra Sheen, has died. She was 89.
Joan Johnson, who helped create one of the nation's largest black-owned companies, has died. She co-founded Johnson Products Company, the black hair care company which made iconic products such as Afro Sheen. She died in Chicago after a long illness. https://t.co/A56UO3B3vB pic.twitter.com/rXi5xzDxQO— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) September 9, 2019
In 1954, Joan and her husband George Johnson created Johnson Products Company, one of the country’s largest black-owned companies, to meet the hair needs of the African American consumer.
Still To Come: "I have many fond memories of my conversations with her...dispensing life advice"
Per CNN, Joan and her husband started with $250 and succeeded in building a multi-million dollar empire that became the first black-owned company to be traded on what is now known as the NYSE American.
The Times reported that Johnson Products had an estimated 80 percent of the black hair-care market in the 1960s and by 1970 it had annual sales of $12.6 million.
Joan Johnson, co-founder of one of, if not the most important Black hair care brand, has died.— MadameNoire (@MadameNoire) September 10, 2019
We send our condolences to the Johnson family during this difficult time.https://t.co/SzsOPF8O8D pic.twitter.com/zDbDzqga1t
Joan’s son, Eric G. Johnson, told CNN:
"When I think about pioneers, the real pioneers are the people who are able to make a path where none exists. Johnson Products in many ways was that company. She and my father had no provided path. They created a path where there was none."
The iconic status of Johnson Products also lends from the fact that it famously sponsored “Soul Train,” the trailblazing TV variety show that ran for close to four decades. With that, the company secured a spot in pop culture history.
"The Johnsons were the first successful family we in the African American communities read about," Joan’s publicist Dori Wilson said. "I can't remember any other product that was really synonymous with the African American community."
Wilson continued: "[Joan was] someone I always admired. …She was perceived as a shrewd and smart businesswoman."
She and her husband started Johnson Products Company in Chicago in 1954, and it later became the first black-owned company to be traded on the American Stock Exchange https://t.co/BLGUxjkBWz— CNN (@CNN) September 9, 2019
Joan was also known as an advocate for women, a trustee at Spelman College who was also famous for her sense of style. Joan’s family now intends to immortalize the matriarch by supporting Spelman with an annual scholarship.
Linda Johnson Rice, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, described the late Joan as, among other things, “sharp-witted and fun.”
"She truly was a grande dame in every sense of the work; dignified, smart, sharp-witted and fun. I have many fond memories of my conversations with her...dispensing life advice. Her life is one to be celebrated."
Joan Johnson, co-founder of trailblazing black hair care company, dies at 89 https://t.co/AGjw0jCTDb— kathychaney (@kathychaney) September 9, 2019
Joan is survived by her husband, sons Eric, John, and George, daughter Joan Jr., ten grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Services to celebrate the life of Joan Johnson will be held on Friday, September 13 in Chicago, CNN reported.
May her soul rest in peace.
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