Bianca Smith
“As a young black woman, I think he made me feel very confident because I would see people that modeled me on the covers of his magazines and in his magazines. His magazines were a trend set for other publications to do the same, to show us as we really are, big, small, tall or whatever. We are saddened about his passing because America has lost a giant. However, we are grateful for his life and the legacy he left behind.”

Deborah Williams
“I would like to say the passing of John Johnson means a lot as to who will carry on his legacy. I’ve always known Ebony to be a down-to-earth magazine, and it always had great articles and let the average person write columns. I remember years ago when I was graduating from college, I wrote a tax column, and it was run in Ebony. So I’m hoping the new leadership won’t forget where Ebony started from and the type of people Ebony liked to feature in their magazine. I hope it does not change.”

Neil Luspo
(executive movie producer, 23 Hues Production)
“I believe Mr. Johnson’s passing is sad”in the sense that he did create a better portrayal of African-American women as well as set a milestone of where the positive side or portrayal of an African-American woman should be. He’s going to be very dearly missed, and I truly believe even at the realm of his daughter, she’s going to carry that same tradition. Being in media, it’s very important that we keep a positive portrayal of all minorities.”

Eric Thompson
(First Bank of Oak Park officer)
“Mr. Johnson was one of the first African Americans to be featured in the Fortune 400. It is a great loss in one aspect. Hopefully it won’t be a greater loss in another aspect as far as African Americans having businesses like that. It’s a cornerstone of media. Ebony/Jet have been around my entire life and hopefully long after. I look at companies like BET who had an African-American leader, who basically sold out, and I hope a lot of people who are planning on going into business will look at John H. Johnson and aspire to be like him and really stick to it. His magazines were the first and only to show middle-class African Americans when other magazines would not. It showed that we can be successful in whatever we put our minds to. Mr. Johnson was a giant in publishing and a hero to many black people.”

Dave Forrester
“Well, I think with the passing of any black leader it always reflects the type of life he leaves behind. I think when someone like Mr. Johnson leaves behind a great, standing legacy for the community and definitely for black females. It’s always a step forward when someone like that can actually come in and leave such a great legacy behind, and then leave a step to be followed up by the younger generation coming behind him. So he’ll definitely be someone who will be missed in the black community, but I’m sure that someone will always be there to step in and follow-up where he left off.”