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Being an entrepreneur can come as both a gift and a curse. On one hand, there’s nothing like being your own boss and making revenue by way of ideas created from your mind. At the same time though, any and all mishaps will fall directly on your lap and oftentimes result in debilitating criticism by those who once lifted you up to prominence.

Add being Black to the mix, which in America can sometimes be enough to cause hate in itself, and the situation might just feel like a catch-22 of sorts.

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However, many Black celebrities over the years have showed us examples from both sides of the spectrum that prove not all biz deals are alike. Take sports mogul Shaquille O’Neal for example. The now-retired 4-time NBA champion is one of the most successful businessmen in any field, at one point owning an impressive 155 Five Guys locations before selling them back in 2016 to launch his own fast food joint, Big Chicken. That’s not even including his over 150 car washes and stake in Ring security cameras well before Amazon bought it for over $1 billion.

With that being said, Shaq also knows what it means to experience loss in business. While speaking on the Earn Your Leisure podcast recently, he confirmed the sell of all his Auntie Anne’s locations after realizing, in his words, “Black people don’t like pretzels that much. So I had to switch it up.”


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A bold claim in itself, the 7’1 tycoon jokingly added that even the fan-favorite Cinnamon Pretzels ain’t cutting it, going on to add, “At first, it was a good investment, but the numbers didn’t add up.” It takes great skills and confidence to make a decision like that, but of course Shaq has many other platforms he can fall back on to alleviate the fall.

Even though most can only imagine what it’s like doing big biz like the big man, there are a few out there who’ve taught us some valuable lessons along the way on both the winning front and when it all falls down.

Get some biz tips by checking out both wins and fails when it comes to celebrity franchise investments, including a fumbled bag over BBMs, a fast food king that doesn’t even eat meat and a game-changing move by King Bey as per usual:

Black In Business: The Wins And Fails Of Celebrity Franchise Investments  was originally published on

1. WIN – Magic Johnson, AMC/Magic Johnson Theatres

WIN - Magic Johnson, AMC/Magic Johnson Theatres Source:Getty

An investment Magic made over two decades ago is still prospering both in Harlem and Maryland. Even with multiple other locations being closed over the years, Magic Johnson Theatres will forever be a stamp in Black history.

2. WIN – Rick Ross, Wingstop

WIN - Rick Ross, Wingstop Source:Getty

Rick Ross proudly boasting his rotund figure over the years goes hand-in-hand with his place as the “king of wings” at Wingstop. Recent labor violation laws at locations in Mississippi did cause a bit of concern, but the bawse owning up to those “mistakes” and shelling out the six figures in fines proved that he’s in it for the long run.

3. FAIL – Chris Brown, Burger King

FAIL - Chris Brown, Burger King Source:Getty

While we commend the R&B dancer for staying out of trouble and making a smart business investment by owning 14 Burger King locations, the fact that Breezy allegedly doesn’t even eat pork or beef makes for a wild oxymoron that ultimately feels like a fruitless cash grab.

4. WIN – LeBron James, Blaze Pizza

King James not only is an early investor in Blaze Pizza, but viral videos like the one featured here give proof that he understands the importance of marketing as well. No wonder why he’s amongst only a handful of NBA billionaires

5. WIN – Hank Aaron, Arby’s

WIN - Hank Aaron, Arby's Source:Getty

The late MLB legend extended his brand beyond retirement by way of becoming a franchisee of Arby’s. That pioneering success led him to expanding even further into fast food by doing the same for Popeyes, Church’s Chicken and even two Krispy Kreme spots. 

6. FAIL – Alicia Keys, Blackberry

FAIL - Alicia Keys, Blackberry Source:Getty

Rumor goes that soon after Alicia Keys was named the Creative Director of Blackberry in 2013, she completely fumbled the bag by sending tweets from an iPhone. The record-breaking GRAMMY-winner claims it was a hack, but we say, “DOH!”

7. WIN – Beyoncé, Uber

WIN - Beyoncé, Uber Source:Getty

Beyoncé really put on her thinking cap back in 2015 after Uber approached her to perform for a corporate event in Las Vegas. Instead of taking the multimillion-dollar check, she instead opted for equity which quadrupled for the Lemonade hitmaker years later when Uber gained global appeal. Who run the world, you ask?

8. WIN – Venus Williams, Jamba Juice

A tennis legend putting on for the juicers of the world is a match — no pun intended! — made in heaven. Not to mention, she looks amazing rocking a brown apron and cap!

9. FAIL – Kanye West, Fatburger

FAIL - Kanye West, Fatburger Source:Getty

Kanye’s short-lived venture with Fatburger, much like his flailing career currently, read as yet another attempt for him to keep up with the likes of Pharrell, who did it with way more success and finesse. Ye’s original plan to launch 10 locations only produced two, and within a few years one closed and the other was bought back by the brand.