According To Forbes, there are 2,640 billionaires in the world as of March 10, 2023, including 735 in America alone. Not surprisingly, only a very small percentage of them are Black. Meet the 18 Black billionaires of the world.
Forbes editors Rob LaFranco and Chase Peterson-Withorn reports “the planet’s billionaires are now worth $12.2 trillion, a drop of $500 billion from $12.7 trillion in March 2022. Nearly half the list is poorer than a year ago, including Elon Musk, who fell from No. 1 to No. 2 after his pricey acquisition of Twitter helped sink Tesla shares.” Despite the $500 billion drop, these Black billionaires have found success in a variety of ways, from investments to entertainment.
*It’s important to note that with that much money, most of it is usually based on how much a stock or company is worth. That value is constantly changing because of a stock price or bad investment, etc. So while this is the order today, it may very well look different in a couple of months. Here’s the list:
01. Aliko Dangote
The Nigerian born, cement producer is the most wealthy man in all of Africa. While he is the wealthiest Black man, he falls to 143 overall with his estimated net worth sitting at $14.1 billion. He is 64 years old and resides in Lagos, Nigeria.
02. Mike Adenuga
Also of Nigerian decent, Adenuga owns the third largest mobile phone network in Nigeria. His subscriber base of 55 million+ and growing has helped him grow his fortune, along with his investments in oil. He attended Pace University in New York City, where he earned his MBA, while working as a taxi driver! He made his first million at just 26 years old, working in sales of lace, and… soft drinks!
He’s worth $7.1 billion. #2 among Black billionaires, but 372 overall.
03. Abdulsamad Rabiu
With a net worth of $6.9 billion, Rabiu comes in 3rd, but 385 overall. A majority of his wealth comes from cement production. He also is in sugar production and real estate. Probably doesn’t come as a surprise this early on the list, that he is also from Nigeria.
04. Robert F. Smith
Smith is the first Black billionaire from the United States on the list. His software investment company, Vista Equities launched in 2000 and it has amassed him a fortune of 6.7 billion. That’s good enough to make him 397 on the overall list. He famously announced that he would pay the tuition debt for the entire graduating class of Morehouse University back in 2019, during his commencement speech.
05. David Steward
The 70 year-old Steward is the founder of World Wide Technology, an IT provider. The Missouri native is worth $5.8 billion. Good enough for 5th among Black billionaires and 488 overall.
06. Strive Masiyiwa
Masiyiwa launched his mobile network in Zimbabwe in 1998. He is also the majority owner of a fiber optics and satellite services company. The 61 year old lives in London now, sitting at number 6 on the list of Black billionaires, but 967 overall with $3.3 billion.
07. Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe was the first African Black billionaire, back in 2008. His fortune came from mining, after founding African Rainbow Minerals. He is currently 995 overall on the billionaire list, with $3.2 billion.
08. Oprah Winfrey
You’re familiar with Ms. Winfrey and her story as a television personality turned media maven. Oprah owns OWN network and O magazine, among other properties. She is worth $2.6 billion and ranks 1248 overall. She’s 68 years old.
09. Kanye West
You knew Ye was on this list, thanks to what he has been able to do with fashion. The Yeezy brand had $1.7 billion in sales in 2020 alone, and Kanye gets a cut of those sales. His net worth is at $1.8 billion (same as Kim Kardashian, and he actually owns a small piece of her SKIMS brand). The 44 year-old college dropout recently announced that his next album, Donda 2 will be available exclusively on his Stem Player device, which costs $200. That’s sure to bulk up his earnings moving forward.
10. Rihanna Fenty
At 1800 overall, Rihanna is worth $1.7 billion. Rihanna is just 33 years old, making her the youngest on this list. Her high net worth is based on her Fenty beauty brand, which she co-owns with LVMH. She has another 30% ownership in the Savage Fenty lingerie line.
11. Michael Jordan
The Jordan brand has provided Jordan with a large majority of his wealth. He only made $90 million in his playing career, which seems small compared to current NBA contracts. He’s the owner of the Charlotte Hornets as well, which has helped in more recent years. Jordan’s net worth is $1.6 billion, good enough for 1852 on the overall list.
12. Michael Lee-Chin
Michael Lee Chin is the 12th most wealthy black billionaire. He was born in Jamaica to biracial parents, who were both African and Chinese-Jamaican. His wealth has been achieved from a National Bank in Jamaica and an investment company in Canada. His net worth sits at $1.4 billion. He is 71 years old.
13. Shawn Carter aka Jay-z
Hov makes this list after years and years of investments have helped him rack up a net worth of $1.3 billion. He sold his stake in Barclays Arena, Tidal and Armand de Brignac champagne. He still have his Roc Nation and Roc Nation Sports brands pulling in money along with D’Ussé cognac. The 52 year-old is 2225 overall on the list and is 13th among black billionaires.
14. Alexander Karp
Alex Karp is worth $1.1 billion, ranking 14th among Black Billionaires. He is the son of a Jewish father and an African-American mother, born in New York City. Karp is the cofounder and CEO of data mining firm Palantir Technologies. Palantir is a software company that collects and synthesizes data for big clients. The company went public in 2020.
15. Tyler Perry
Mr. Perry just makes the list, sitting at 2582 overall, with a net worth of $1 billion. His Madea franchise alone sits at $660 million grossed. Then there’s Tyler Perry Studios and his deal with Paramount. At 52, he looks to climb up this list in the years to come because he owns 100% of the content that he has created! Boss.
16. Tope Awotona
Tope Awotona is the CEO and founder of the popular scheduling software company Calendly. He was born in Nigeria and then came to the U.S. as a teenager. According to Forbes, “he bootstrapped Calendly for years before taking on a $350 million investment in 2021 that valued the firm at $3 billion. Before founding Calendly, he had started a few other businesses, including one that sold projectors and another that sold garden tools, that flopped.” Awotona’s net worth is $1.2B as of November 14, 2023.
17. LeBron James
18. Tiger Woods
Despite reportedly turning down a “high nine digits” offer to join the Saudi-run LIV Golf series, Tiger Woods joins the NBA legends, LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only athletes to reach billionaire status. Tiger Woods has earned roughly $1.8 billion during his pro golf career, including a PGA Tour-record $121 million in prize money, according to Forbes. In 2022, Forbes certified him as a billionaire, making him only the second active athlete ever with that distinction, after LeBron James.
(pictured l to r: Michael Lee-Chin, Aliko Dangote, Rihanna, Tyler Perry, Robert F. Smith)
Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy (52) is worth $885 million. His investment in Ciroc and the recent reacquiring of Sean John can someday soon get him over a billion.
Andre Young aka Dr. Dre (57) was a billionaire a couple years ago, but his recent divorce cut into his net worth. He is worth $820 million currently.
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