January 25, 1949
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Residence||The Plains, Virginia, U.S.|
|Education||Proviso East High School|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois|
|Known for||Co-founder of Black Entertainment Television|
|Net worth||US$710 million (2016)|
|Spouse(s)||Robert L. Johnson (m. 1969; div. 2002)
William T. Newman (m. 2005)
Sheila Crump Johnson (born January 25, 1949) is an American businesswoman, co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and the first African-American woman to attain a net worth of at least one billion dollars.
Johnson is team president, managing partner, and governor of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, a position she earned before the 2005 season. On May 24, 2005, Washington Sports and Entertainment Chairman, Abe Pollin, sold the Mystics to Lincoln Holdings LLC, where Johnson served as president. She is the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). Johnson is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, a company she founded in 2005. Salamander's portfolio includes: Reunion Resort located in Reunion, Florida; The Woodlands Resort & Inn, in Summerville, SC; The Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, a 900-acre (3.6 km2), 72 hole PGA tour golf course in Palm Harbor, FL; and The Salamander Resort & Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Middleburg, VA. The Woodlands Resort & Inn was recently sold to Charleston attorney Johnny Linton, but is still managed by Salamander.
Johnson is a Global Ambassador for CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Sheila's I Am Powerful Challenge raised over $8 million in 2007. She serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York and funded the opening of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, combining classrooms, public program spaces and galleries. She sits on the boards of VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, Americans for the Arts, the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia, and the University of Illinois Foundation. Johnson is also the Ambassador for the Healthy Site Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity for women.
Johnson's first film, Kicking It, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. She served as sole executive producer on her second film, A Powerful Noise, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
In an interview, Sheila Johnson said she herself is "ashamed" of what the BET has become. “I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don’t watch it," she said. “When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news... I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up... And then something started happening, and I didn’t like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists...and we had to start showing them. I didn’t like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.”
After her divorce from Robert L. Johnson in 2002, she was estimated to be worth about $670 million. In 2009, Forbes magazine estimated her net worth to be $400 million. In 2016, Johnson's net worth was placed at $710 million.
On September 24, 2005, she married Arlington County Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman, who had presided over her divorce from Robert L. Johnson in 2003. The couple first met three decades earlier when they acted in a play together.
Johnson is a Democrat, although in 2009 she endorsed Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. In early October 2009, Johnson mocked the stutter of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds at a rally for McDonnell's campaign. She later apologized.
- "Sheila Johnson". Forbes. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
- "7 things I learned from the first black female billionaire". BizWoman. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Garman, Erica (September 2008). "Spa Aims to Turn Cold Shoulder Into Warm Embrace". Washington Post.
- "Sheila Johnson". The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Sheila Johnson". Biography.com. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Architectural Record", September 2008
- VH1 "DR. SHEILA JOHNSON AND GORDON SINGER APPOINTED TO THE VH1 SAVE THE MUSIC FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS", VH1, 19 Mar 2007 press release
- "Press Release", Americans for the Arts
- Tribeca Film Festival
- Grove, Lloyd (2010-04-29). "Sheila Johnson Slams BET". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Richest Black Americans", Forbes, 6 May 2009
- Washington Post, Sep 2005
- "Virginia Women in History: Sheila Crump Johnson (1949- ), Loudoun County, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- "Creigh Deeds's Stutter Mocked By Prominent Endorser Of GOP Candidate In Virginia Gubernatorial Race". Huffington Post. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- "Top McDonnell supporter condemns governor for Confederate History Month". Washington Post. 7 April 2010.