Meet the Burns Brothers unveiling the 1st African-American-owned private membership club in Africa

Mildred Europa Taylor March 11, 2024
The Burns Brothers are set to make history. Photo: Linkedin/The Burns Brothers

The Burns Brothers will expand their exclusive private membership club, HQ, to Nairobi, Kenya this summer. This will make HQ the first-ever private membership club that is owned by African Americans in Africa. HQ is the brainchild of Mike and John Burns of The Burns Brothers located in the heart of downtown D.C. by Capital One Arena.

Mike, a military veteran and Fortune 100 executive, and John, a seasoned attorney and community activist, started The Burns Brothers in 2020 during the civil unrest and rapidly evolving global landscape, they said on their website.

Besides starting the company, which houses various businesses in areas such as communications, marketing, and hospitality, John and Mike created HQ DC House, a hub for Black professionals who want to “elevate their personal, professional, and social experiences in the city, powered by a sense of community,” 7News reported.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Mike and John left corporate America to launch HQ DC House in April 2023 after examining how they could bring people together and mobilize the community particularly communities of color, providing a safe and comfortable space for them.

The brothers explained that after they found The Burns Brothers, they realized that most of their clients who came to their building to work with them found it hard to leave.

“What we found is every time we interacted with our clients, especially clients that were focused on multicultural activations or had multicultural senior-level leaders inside the organization, is that they would come [to work with us] – our second floor of what is now HQ was our office – and they would never leave,” Mike told TN.

“They were comfortable being with people who were excelling in their profession and they couldn’t really do it in a comfortable environment outside of a bar, a hotel lobby, or a restaurant. When we saw that individuals wanted to stay, it immediately triggered to us that a lot of these individuals were us. 

“There was no space for people that were on the upward trajectory – the apex of their careers – where they could just be themselves and they could be around other people who had similar aspirational goals, or at similar points that they were in their careers. We said, okay, there’s a huge need here. We simultaneously had some openings in the buildings that we’re activating our current offices [in] that allowed us to build out this larger concept for HQ,” Mike explained.

7News reported that even though restaurants and businesses in D.C. are closing, and there is an increase in crime, the Burns Brothers are not perturbed and are even looking at opening a restaurant and art gallery in the city soon that will cater to the needs of diverse people.

Last month, the Burns Brothers said they were expanding their exclusive private membership club, HQ, to Nairobi, as part of their moves to take advantage of the economic and business trade in East Africa.

“And so as we think about how can we bring and bridge that gap between African Americans and Africans on the continent and create this global community? We thought Nairobi was the perfect place to start,” said John.

“Africa’s burgeoning status as a global economic powerhouse, its projection to account for one-quarter of the world’s population by 2050, and Kenya’s emergence as a promising economic epicenter underscore our decision to spotlight Kenya in HQ’s expansion,” John added.

Since its debut in Washington, DC, last April, HQ has seen what the Burns Brothers describe as “a fusion of networking opportunities, development programs, and culturally enriching events” linked with creativity and inspiration.

Personalities such as actress Kerry Washington, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, comedic maestro Chris Tucker, and singer Kirk Franklin have visited HQ DC House.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 11, 2024


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