Photo: Shelley Wynter, CJ Pearson, Janice Welbourne, MalaniKai . CR: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Photo: Shelley Wynter, CJ Pearson, Janice Welbourne, MalaniKai . CR: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

WSB’s Shelley Wynter, MalaniKai helps high schooler raise $165,000 for black businesses following looting

WSB Radio talk show hosts Shelley Wynter and MalaniKai Massey gave a boost to a GoFundMe page of a conservative black teen, who raised more than $165,000 for local black businesses hurt by looters during the early days of the George Floyd protests.

CJ Pearson, a high school senior, said he originally hoped to raise $30,000 on his GoFundMe page, which he dubbed “The Left Is Burning Down Black Businesses.” But he said WSB listeners helped give him a boost. So far, he has more than quintupled his initial goal.

Wynter, a long-time conservative himself who previously worked at 1080/WAOK-AM and the now defunct Talk 106.7, invited Pearson onto his radio show in early June and introduced him to some businesses that needed help. 

The WSB show “Word on the Streets” with Wynter, MalaniKai, Scotty B and Crystal is heard on Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Pearson gave Janice Wilbourn of Wilbourn Sisters Designs at 134 Peachtree Street a $10,000 check Thursday morning at a press conference. Looters on May 29 damaged dozens of businesses downtown. On June 18, many of the downtown businesses remained closed while others had reopened with plywood covering what was glass.

Wilbourn happened to be at her store that night when people started breaking her windows. She was able to minimize the damage and keep her place from getting ransacked.

But the protests inspired Wilbourn. She said she plans to use some of the money to transform her clothing store into more a gathering space to teach sewing classes and provide educational opportunities. 

Atlanta Style Bar, a salon for men and women at 300 Peachtree Street, was also damaged during the rioting. Pearson, who will be attending the University of Alabama this fall, bestowed them $3,000.

Thomas Dortch, chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men of America, has mentored Pearson and praised him at the press conference. “He is a sharp young man,’ Dortch said. Dortch said small black businesses will be able to apply for grants using the funds Pearson raised. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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