Home URBAN Billboard’s First Black Female Editor Jean Williams Passes

Billboard’s First Black Female Editor Jean Williams Passes

chris brown

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Jean Williams is known as a risk-taker who tends to thrive on challenges.   Born in North Carolina and raised in , , she is the oldest of three children, all girls.

Jean put her journalism career on hold to become a professional fashion model, primarily in and Philadelphia.

Upon advancing her career, Jean relocated to , California and became the first , worldwide, to join Billboard Magazine’s editorial staff, first as general assignment reporter, and four years later, as talent editor.   She married the late James “Jim” Cleaver, then Executive Editor of the Sentinel newspaper.

Leaving Billboard to become self-employed, she opened Leigh-Hi Industries, an entertainment industry consulting firm, which she operated for 10 years.   An opportunity arose to train Inglewood, residents to become casino dealers in the lucrative gaming Industry.   Pulling together some of the industry’s best instructors, she opened The Gaming Academy, believed to be the first African-American-owned, licensed casino dealer’s school in the country.   She secured contracts with 18 cities throughout the state of California to teach casino dealers, and with companies, such as Northrop, to re-train displaced workers.   This resulted in employment for several hundred people.

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