Exclusive: Magic Johnson inspired by Killer Mike to revive historic Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Magic Johnson became aware of the storied legacy of Alonzo Herndon and Atlanta Life through rapper Killer Mike. 

“Killer Mike was the one who was doing an interview and he really brought to light this company and the history of Mr. Herndon,” Johnson told ADW during an exclusive Q&A session in Buckhead. “So I had to look this guy up and look this company up. So big ups to Killer Mike for educating myself and I’m sure a lot of other people.”

Johnson would research the history of Herndon and Atlanta Life and decided to continue its legacy. Johnson’s EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, a life insurance and annuities carrier with $26 billion of total assets, reached an agreement to broaden its offerings and reach.

Atlanta Life now stands as the nation’s lone remaining Black-founded and owned insurance company. 

Initially founded by Herndon, a former slave, in 1905, Atlanta Life became a staple in the community and allowed Herndon to become one of America’s first Black millionaires. 


“Anytime a Black man can go from slavery to become a Black millionaire here in Atlanta, it’s a story that should be told,” Johnson said.

“And I’m glad that we are able to take this historical brand and company and revive, revitalize it and really bring it back to the people of Georgia. So my team has done an excellent job. And so I’m excited about my company.”

Atlanta Life also hosted “A Day of Impact” at the historic Herndon Home. The event empowered Atlanta Youth with an educational program centered on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

“We were able to help young people 6th through 8th grade,” Johnson said. “That was really great. We were able to do this with over 100 kids there. I’m going to continue to do what’s on my heart and give back into my community.”

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