EBONY/JET/FASHION FAIR COSMETICS FOUNDER LEAVES HISTORIC LEGACY
John H. Johnson, founder, publisher and chairman of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., died August 8 in Chicago at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was 87. Johnson was the founder of a major international media and cosmetics empire that includes EBONY and JET magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and EBONY Fashion Fair. It is the No. 1 African-American publishing company in the world founded in 1942.
Mr. Johnson borrowed $500 on his mother’s furniture and created a publishing and cosmetics empire is credited as one of the major trailblazers and he is recognized as the founder of the African-American consumer market. The founder and publisher succumbed after an extended illness on the 60th anniversary of EBONY magazine, which, under his leadership, has been the biggest Black-owned magazine in the world for 60 straight years. In 2002, Johnson named Linda Johnson Rice, the chief operating officer, CEO of the company, but retained the title of chairman and publisher until his death.
John Johnson to me was one of the most brilliant businessman of the 20th century.
In his autobiography, Succeeding Against the Odds, Mr. Johnson said, "I believe that the only failure is failing to try…and if my life has meaning…it is because millions of Americans, Black and White, have proved through me that the Dream is still alive and well and working in America."
John H. Johnson
Publisher and Chairman