By: Selena Hill
Melissa Harville-Lebron never imagined that her entrepreneurial pursuits and ambitions would lead her to make history as the first African American woman to own a race team licensed by NASCAR.
Harville-Lebron, a 47-year-old single mother raising her three biological children as well as her siblings’ four kids, started her career in the entertainment industry as an intern at Sony Music. In 2005, she launched her own music label while working for New York City’s Department of Correction office. Nearly a decade later, she suffered from a severe asthma attack that forced her into early retirement and inspired her to take the risk of launching a multifaceted entertainment company, W.M. Stone Enterprises Inc., in 2014.
Harville-Lebron says her journey into auto racing began unexpectedly when she took her sons to a NASCAR experience event at Charlotte Super Speedway in hopes of deterring them from taking up such a dangerous hobby. Instead, the experience only piqued her sons’ interests and eventually led to her investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop her own team.
“I got invited to a NASCAR experience and I brought my boys along thinking that it would discourage them from driving,” she told Black Enterprise. But “it did not work that way.” They drove 149 mph and 150 mph during their first session and loved every minute of it while she watched in awe.
Source: Black Enterprise