Richelieu Dennis has worked with Walker’s family before
By Teddy Grant, Ebony
Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis will turn the estate of Madam C.J. Walker into a hub for Black female business leaders, according to Black Enterprise.
Walker made her fortune by selling haircare products to Black women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her 34-room mansion in New York was purchased by Dennis in 2018.
In an interview with Essence in December, Dennis said he wanted to turn Walker’s property into a “learning institute, or think tank, to foster entrepreneurship for present and future generations.”
“It is a place where—against all odds—dreams were formed, visions were realized and entrepreneurs were born, and we look forward to returning its use to support that mission,” Dennis said of Walker’s estate, which changed ownership several times after her death and was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1976.
Dennis, the current owner of the property, has worked with the Walker family before. In 2013, he relaunched the Madam C.J. Walker Brand. Her great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, said she’s looking forward to this partnership with Dennis, according to Black Enterprise.
“No one at the time believed that a black woman could afford such a place. So, I can think of no better way to celebrate Villa Lewaro’s 100th anniversary than the vision of the New Voices Foundation and the Dennis family for this historic treasure as a place to inspire today’s entrepreneurs, tomorrow’s leaders, and our entire community,” she told Essence in a statement.
This article originally appeared in Ebony.