FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2

Mellody Hobson stopped apologizing for being a Black woman

Mellody Hobson is the president of Ariel Investments, the country’s largest minority-owned investment firm. Hobson is also married to one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, George Lucas. But Hobson hasn’t forgotten about her roots and during a recent speech at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference, Hobson discussed the moment she stopped apologizing for being black.

From Fortune:

Her epiphany came when she attended the funeral of John Johnson, who started Ebony and Jet magazines. One of the eulogists got up and said, “He was unapologetically black.” It stopped Hobson in her tracks. “It me so hard,” she said. She realized that she had “been apologizing for who I am, about being a woman, and about being black—and it stops today.”

Hobson said that a lot of people think that because we have a black president, we live in a post-racial America. “This is laughable,” she added. “If you are a person of color it’s hard to explain what we deal with on day-to-day basis.”

Hobson, who was raised by a single mother, said her mother made sure to instill in her that life wasn’t going to be easy, and this was something that white women were never told. Although Hobson’s current life is drastically different from growing up dealing with evictions and utilities being shut off, she credits the fact that she saw her mother’s struggle with money as a reason why she wanted to learn all she could about finances.

As a new mother, Hobson stated that she wants her daughter to be proud of her and wants her to understand that certain opportunities are available to her, that she didn’t have growing up as a kid.

Photo Credits: Fortune/Screenshot

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  • Delia

    We need more stories like this Clutch and less about SNL

  • Stef

    I love this article and video. While I understand what she means by
    apologizing for being a woman (with that dress example), can you guys give me example when we apologize for being Black (Besides the obvious like wanting to change our physical attributes…)? I just want to pinpoint it so I can get rid of it…

    Tkx again Clutch for this gr8 article.

    Much love to all of you Sisters,

    Stef

  • [email protected]

    We have every right to be unapologetically black. Decades change, society may change in certain areas, and many other things may change. Yet, the truth remains. It remains and one truth is that blackness is strong and beautiful. Mellody Hobson is correct to mention that having a black President in the White House doesn’t mean that we live in a post-racial society. True success is not just about overcoming obstacles. It is about when you finally get to a measure of success; we give back to those less fortunate (and acknowledge those who helped us as no human is an island). I wish her the best.

  • D1Mind

    OK… She is black. But unapologetic? I don’t think so. She isn’t really pushing any broad black empowerment agenda that I can see. Being unapologetic means I can BE black and OPENLY support and promote BLACK issues, agendas and interests without having to hide it and apologize about it. But her stance is more around assimilation and integration as opposed to ‘unapologetic’. Unapologetic is when you say ‘screw getting crumbs from their pie, I can make my own and eat it all’.

  • Niesha

    I love an accomplished Black woman…