Meet the World’s Black Billionaires
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs
There’s no limit to what Black people can do, and that includes being among the richest individuals in the world. Accumulating fortunes equaling up to billions of dollars, these Black entrepreneurs are reaching historical milestones well worth celebrating.
Check out the list below to read up on the richest Black billionaires around the world.
As hip hop’s first Black billionaire, rapper and businessman Jay-Z set the bar high for artists with a net worth of $1 billion. In addition to being a legendary emcee, Jay-Z’s fortune stems from his many business ventures. His business moves include partnerships with Armand de Brignac champagne, D’Ussé cognac, investments, and of course, music tours.
Kanye West made history as hip hop’s second Black billionaire after much back and forth with Forbes to make their list for 2020. Most notably, his wealth derives from stakes in his very successful sneaker brand, Yeezy, a partnership with adidas, that banks at over $3 billion as declared by Bank of America in 2019. He also holds millions in real estate, a car collection, and hundreds of thousands in livestock, according to Business Insider.
Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian businessman whose wealth stems from his cement, sugar and flour companies. According to reporting by Forbes, Dangote is the richest Black person in the world and the richest person in Africa. One of his most successful businesses is Dangote Cement. Dangote also owns the world’s second-largest sugar refinery and began investing in oil and gas in 2007.
Robert Smith is the founder, CEO and Chairman of Vista Equity Partners. After spending years as a Goldman Sachs investment banker, Smith created Vista to invest in software companies.
Mike Adenuga is another Nigerian businessman making the list. Adenuga is the second-richest Black person in the world, earning his first million at the age of 26. He has built his wealth through his mobile phone network Globacom, which boasts more than 50 million subscribers, and his oil company Conoil Producing. According to Forbes, Adenuga also has his hands in real estate and construction and is the largest individual owner of property in Nigeria and Ghana.
Oprah, an American media mogul, is the richest Black woman billionaire. Oprah began her career as a reporter and quickly gained popularity on her self-titled talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The show lasted for more than 20 years. In 2000, Winfrey began her own magazine and later went on to start her own television network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), after departing from her show.
Isabel Dos Santos makes the list as the second-richest Black woman in the world, with investments in Angola’s largest mobile phone network Unitel, the country’s fourth-largest bank Banco BIC, oil and gas firm Galp Energia and in Portuguese media company Nos SGPS.
Patrice Motsepe was the first Black African to appear on the Forbes list. He built his wealth in the mining industry through his company African Rainbow Minerals. In 2016, he founded African Rainbow Capital, a private equity firm aimed at investing in Africa.
Strive Masiyiwa is a mogul in telecommunications. After facing opposition from the Zimbabwean government, Masiyiwa created mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in 1998. Masiyiwa owns more than 50 percent of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, more than 50 percent of fiber-optic and satellite services provider Liquid Telecom and stakes in mobile phone companies in Burundi and Lesotho.
NBA legend Michael Jordan has spent a lot of time off the court, building his wealth. Jordan’s deals with Hanes, Nike, and Gatorade have helped him solidify his spot as one of the world’s top Black billionaires. He also holds the majority share of the Charlotte Hornets, owns restaurants, and still holds the longest and most recognizable endorsement deal with Nike.
Mohammed Ibrahim is another telecommunications giant making the list for creating one of Africa’s first mobile phone companies, Celtel International. The company has since been sold to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, and Ibrahim now has a foundation that works to fight corrupt leadership in Africa.
Michael Lee-Chin is the president and chair of Portland Holdings. Previously, he has invested in AIC and National Commercial Bank Jamaica. A majority of his wealth comes from his 65 percent stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica.
David Steward’s journey to wealth was not a smooth path. According to Forbes, his car was once repossessed from his office’s parking lot. Now, Steward is the co-founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, and he has a spot on the 2020 Forbes List.
Abdulsamad Rabiu is a 59-year-old business mogul. He owns BUA Group, a cement, sugar, and real estate conglomerate. In 2020, Rabiu merged his two powerhouse cement companies, Obu Cement and Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria.
Editorial Note: This piece has been updated since it was initially published.