New Documentary ‘Boss’ Explores Black Business in America

The story of American entrepreneurship has largely left out the African-American experience. But there’s a new film airing on PBS that documents 150 years of just that called, “Boss: The Black Experience in Business.”

The two-hour documentary includes many stories about African-American entrepreneurs, including some Chicagoans who played major roles in various industries, such as journalist Ida B. Wells, publisher John H. Johnson and John Rogers, CEO and founder of Ariel Investments.

“Boss: The Black Experience in Business” is directed by Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges,” “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” and “Freedom Summer”). The film is made in association with Chicago’s The HistoryMakers, a nonprofit that oversees the nation’s largest African-American video oral history archive. The organization’s founder, Julieanna Richardson, is co-executive producer of “Boss.”

“African-Americans have played a central role in the history of American business, but their stories are often left untold,” Nelson said. “Today, as we see talented black businessmen and women not only building successful companies in mainstream America, but also emerging as managers and CEOs for some of the most powerful corporate entities in the world.”

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#BossPBSAngela McCrae