7 Billion-Dollar Empires That Exemplify Black Excellence
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

7 Billion-Dollar Empires That Exemplify Black Excellence

There’s certainly no shortage of billion-dollar empires, but Black billion-dollar empires are a different level of #Goals.

According to Forbes, despite all the strides Black men and women have made in the field of business, less than 1 percent of all billionaires in the world identify as Black.

That said, though, the United States has the world’s largest concentration of billionaires.

“The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755–660 more than a year ago. Altogether these billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020. The U.S. still has the most, with 724, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 698,” reports Forbes.

So, if ever there was to be a renaissance of Black billion-dollar empires, it would definitely happen in the United States. That’s why these seven Black billion-dollar empires are worth taking special note of. Whether they’re in the world of business, media, or music, these Black men and women have defied all the odds and have become both inspirational and aspirational.

Hopefully, one day, these names will carry the same weight as names like Rockefeller, Hilton and Bloomberg carry today. It would be the pinnacle of #BlackExcellence — and a testament to the durability of the legacies involved.

Editorial note: The net worths listed in this piece are a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.

Robert F. Smith

Photo Credit: Paras Griffin

Estimated Net Worth: $6 billion

Robert F. Smith, the billionaire businessman who made headlines when he wiped out the enter student debt for the 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College, earns his wealth as founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a U.S.-based investment firm with offices in Austin, Chicago, New York City, Oakland and San Francisco. In 2017, Forbes named Smith one of the 100 greatest living business minds and in 2018, Smith surpassed Oprah Winfrey as the wealthiest African American in the country.

David Steward

Photo Credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ

Estimated Net Worth: $3.7 billion

David Steward is the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, Inc, the largest Black-owned business in the United States. Founded in 1990, World Wide Technology employs 5,000 people and brings in over $11 billion in revenue annually. The Fortune 500 company provides technology and supply chain services to large public and private organizations around the globe.

Oprah Winfrey

Photo Credit: Michele Crowe

Estimated Net Worth: $2.7 billion

Oprah didn’t become the first Black woman billionaire for no reason. Her multimedia empire built on talk shows, an eponymous magazine and a book club — to name but a few things — have helped her build a $2.7 billion war chest.

Kanye West

Photo Credit: Karwai Tang

Estimated Net Worth: $1.8 Billion

The Grammy-winning producer and rapper may be more than a little bit “out there,” but his genius cannot be denied. From Yeezy to retail partnerships, his $1.8 billion empire is only growing from here.

Rihanna

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris

Estimated Net Worth: $1.7 Billion

The “Disturbia” singer has proven that she’s much more than just a musical genius. Her Savage x Fenty line of lingerie and cosmetics has helped her build an empire worth $1.7 billion.

Michael Jordan

Photo Credit: Doug Benc

Estimated Net Worth: $1.6 Billion

From basketball player to multi-media mogul, Michael Jordan has created an empire worth $1.6 billion. His business investments include the Charlotte Hornets and various Black-owned businesses.

Jay-Z & Beyoncé

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

Estimated Net Worth: $1.35 Billion

When it comes to Black billion-dollar empires, few couples are as high-profile or as high-powered as Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Music is only one part of the equation: LVMH’s acquisition of Armand de Brignac, Jay-Z’s Champagne brand, kicked off the couple’s investment ride to the top. Add in such other ventures as Marcy Venture Partners’s huge war chest and all the Black-owned companies that they’ve invested in, and you can be sure that future generations of the Carters will be like today’s generation of Hiltons.