This is black history month 2021so we ask ourselves how many are black? According to Forbes Billionaire list there are seven black self-made billionaires.
The dismally low number of American billionaires that identify as being black highlights the systemic gap between the economic opportunities afforded to Black and white Americans. Let’s examine a bit of information that may make your skin crawl.
The year is 1992, the median net worth of white families was $100,000 above that of Black families, according to McKinsey. By 2016, the median white family was $152,000 wealthier than its Black counterpart. This means in just over two decades, the median wealth of white families grew over $50,000, McKinsey reports, but the median wealth of Black families did not grow at all in real terms.
The United States continue to deal with a national crisis over racism, as cities across the country broke out in protests over the past year to express concern over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor just to name a few.
History shows that, the diversity problem among the world's wealthiest people isn't just an American one. Only 13 of the 2,153 people on Forbes' 2019 Billionaires List were black, according to their publications. In 2018, that number was 11. Forbes failed to publish or some might say acknowledge a racial breakdown of its 2020 Billionaires List.
Tyler Perry is America's newest Black billionaire according to Forbes.
Tyler Perry has achieved a net worth of $1 billion dollars as a result of his achievements in the film and television industry.
Tyler Perry currently hails from Atlanta and is known as a writer, producer, and actor responsible for comic productions that shines the light on stories of Black America using venues such as national stage tours, BET, and the silver screen. He's made his bones through displaying comic prowess with 11 Madea films, showcasing the character of a tough elderly woman he created and portrayed.
Forbes estimates that Perry has a net worth of $1 billion. Self-made Perry controls every aspect of his projects' production from his 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, he generated $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005, Forbes reported. Perry told Forbes he adopted that business strategy on the advice of fellow Black billionaire Oprah Winfrey.
Next on the list Jay-Z who built an empire from his music career and grew it into a billion-dollar fortune with smart investments.
Jay-Z has achieved a net worth of $1 billion dollars as a result of his achievements in the music industry coupled with some smart investments.
Born Shawn Carter, rebranded as Jay-Z, he is most likely hip hop's first billionaire, and his fortune did not come from his music career alone. Shawn Carter earned approximately $500 million from his 14 No. 1 albums before taxes, which is not an easy task but his zeal for success yielded a large portion of his wealth from his business ventures, according to Forbes. He founded a clothing line that he sold to Iconix for $204 million in 2007 and co-owns cognac brand D'Ussé, in addition to owning music streaming service Tidal.
Jay-Z, 50, bought Tidal for $56 million in 2015. In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in the company for $200 million, which put the company's valuation at $600 million. Jay-Z's stake in the company is worth $100 million, Forbes reported in 2019.
Jay-Z also has a private art collection worth $70 million, a stake in Uber worth $70 million, and he owns $50 million in real estate, according to Forbes.
Kanye West is known as a musician, but he owes his membership in the three-comma club to his streetwear line.
Jay-Z has achieved a net worth of $1.3 billion dollars as a result of his successes in the music industry and streetwear brand Yeezy.
After a years-long campaign by West to get added to the magazine's annual Billionaires List, Forbes declared Kanye West a billionaire in April 2020. Forbes now says that the 43-year-old rapper and fashion designer is worth $1.3 billion, mostly because of his sole ownership of his brand Yeezy. West reportedly claims that he is worth $3.3 billion.
Michael Jordan tranformed his success as a basketball player into a best-selling footwear brand.
Michael Jordan is worth $1.6 earned from his basketball career, sports, and endorsements. Jordan, 57, remains the highest-paid athlete of all time, and not as a result of his salary from the Chicago Bulls. Jordan earned $1.4 billion before taxes from corporate sponsorships during his professional basketball career. His film debut, "Space Jam," also earned $250 million at the worldwide box office, according to IMDB.
He went on to purchase an NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, in 2010. The Hornets may be the third least-valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes, but the team's valuation at $1.05 billion is still a major part of Jordan's wealth. Jordan has also made a lot of money from Nike's Air Jordan line, which made him a billionaire in 2015, according to CNN Business.
Oprah Winfrey made a multimillion-dollar fortune from her media empire.
Oprah Winfrey has a Net worth of $2.5 billion earned in the media industry.
Oprah was born to a single mother in rural Mississippi, Oprah started out as a news anchor before spending 25 years hosting "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The investments Winfrey made with her share of the show's profits are now worth approximately $2 billion, according to Forbes. She became a billionaire in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Oprah, now 66, also leveraged her show's success to build a media empire and built a fortune of $2.6 billion in the process, according to Forbes. She owns 25.5% of her television network OWN, an 8% stake in WW International, and has a content creation deal with Apple TV+.
Oprah has also voiced characters in "Charlotte's Web," "The Bee Movie," and "The Princess and the Frog," in addition to starring in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Selma," among others, according to The Oprah Magazine.
David Steward built his fortune running an IT service provider that counts Citi, Verizon, and the federal government as clients.
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Source of wealth: information technology services
Steward founded World Wide Technology, an IT services company that has generated over $11 billion in sales, according to Forbes. Steward, 68, serves as the company's chairman. The Missouri-based billionaire still has a majority stake in the company.
Investor Robert F. Smith is the richest black man in the country.
Net worth: $5.2 billion
Source of wealth: private equity
A Cornell graduate and former Goldman Sachs executive, Smith built his multibillion-dollar fortune running private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, Business Insider previously reported. Vista is one of the most successful private equity firms in the nation, with more than $46 billion in assets and posting annualized returns of 22%.
Smith became the first African American to sign The Giving Pledge in 2017, an invitation-only alliance of billionaires who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes. Smith is perhaps best known for his philanthropy. In May 2019, he announced a $34 million gift to pay off the student loans of Morehouse College's class of 2019 while speaking during the historically black college's graduation ceremony. Smith later expanded the gift to cover the graduates' parents' educational debt.