Fearless Fund Founders Fight Back After Being Targeted For Investing In Black Women
Human Interest

Fearless Fund Founders Fight Back After Being Targeted For Investing In Black Women

An anti-affirmative action group is suing a Black-owned venture capital fund organization that specifically invests in Black women entrepreneurs.

The lawsuit was filed on August 2, 2023, by The American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER). It claims that Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm, offers a grant contest that racially excludes women who are not Black. The lawsuit claims that the “Strivers Grant” violates Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which mandates that private contracts be made available to all people regardless of race. The group also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the Fearless Fund from closing its application period or awarding grants as scheduled at the end of August.

The Fearless Fund firm launched back in 2019 and awards thousands of dollars in grants to small business owners looking to secure money to grow their ventures. The organization was initially co-founded by actress and businesswoman Keshia Knight Pulliam, along with Ayana Parsons and Arian Simone. However, Pulliam is no longer affiliated with the company. Since its inception, the organization has already seen much success with investors, including PayPal, Bank of America, and General Mills, just to name a few. To date, the firm has raised more than $25 million for over 40 companies, including the popular Black woman-owned restaurant Slutty Vegan.

Both Parsons and Simone are still actively working with the organization and, along with Attorney Benjamin Crump, spoke publicly on the lawsuit during a sit-down interview on The Breakfast Club. Both Parsons and Simone believe that they’re being sued “because” their organization is creating Black and brown female billionaires. During the interview, Parsons says Black women are the most founded entrepreneur demographic who start more businesses than anyone else but are still getting the least. Shocker! According to Simone, their firm not only provides grants to their clients but valuable tools on how to run a successful business.

AAER is led by Edward Blum. Blum’s organization is also affiliated with the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action in college admission. In reference to the Fearless Fund lawsuit, Blum told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) that three white and Asian female entrepreneurs are the ones claiming that the Strivers Grant violated civil rights laws and proceeded to ask Blum to represent them.

As a result of this lawsuit, Simone says she and Parsons are now developing their own legislative order, telling The Breakfast Club, “If you want to use the law against us, we need some more laws to protect us.” As for the next steps, Attorney Crump wants to be clear that this is all of our problem. Crump is concerned that this lawsuit can open Pandora’s box for Black and brown people everywhere, telling The Breakfast Club, “You have to stop him on this. If you don’t stop him now, it’s open season on all of us." But Blum’s organization is acting as if a sin was committed.

Some would argue that this lawsuit is just another attempt of the AAER to dismantle any and all programs that attempt to leverage generational wealth in America, which is concerning. The basis of the lawsuit seems blurred, at minimum, being that it is against progressiveness and equity. The point of the Fearless Fund is to invest in businesses that get looked at last, if at all. So Blum pretending that these inequities don’t exist is problematic in itself, and if he is successful, then Crump is correct; it could very well be open season on us all.

Ben Crump, Arian Simone & Ayana Parsons On The Fearless Fund, Racial Discrimination Lawsuit & More

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