From media and entertainment to private equity and investments, Black billionaires are proof that despite the odds we can achieve true financial freedom.
This year, Forbes released its 2021 Billionaires list with a record-breaking number of 2,755 billionaires making the cut — a jump of 660 from its list published one year ago.
Even across age, geographic locations, industries and race, today’s incredible Black businessmen and women are still showing that it’s possible to overcome obstacles and join one of the most esteemed populations in the world.
Of the many billionaires on the list, here are the world’s Black billionaires in 2021 who represent amongst the richest group worldwide.
Jay-Z – $1.4 Billion
Jay-Z broke the glass ceiling for Hip Hop as the culture’s first billionaire, but his fortune continues to grow on account of his many business endeavors. As AfroTech previously reported, much of his wealth stems from sales from Roc Nation, Armand de Brignac, his D’Usse cognac, music royalties, art collection, real estate ventures and investments from startups like Ethos and Sweetgreen.
Kanye West – $1.8 Billion
Although Kanye West was the second Hip Hop artist to achieve billionaire status, he surpassed Jay-Z with a $1.8 billion fortune. According to our previous report, most of his net worth stems from his 100% stake in the Yeezy brand, which is tied to adidas, while the rest of his money is generated from his many investments, ranches in Wyoming, G.O.O.D Music record label, publishing rights and his own music catalog.
Tyler Perry – $1 Billion
Actor, writer, producer, playwright, director and all-around creator Tyler Perry came a long way from his humble beginnings. For over the past two decades, Perry went from an aspiring Hollywood star to one of the richest men in the industry on account of his 30 movies, 20 plays, and eight TV shows that continue to roll out, which we reported on earlier this year. Not to mention, his very Black-owned 330-acre studio lot is the largest in the country.
Oprah Winfrey – $2.7 Billion
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey began her career as news anchor and today is considered the most beloved media giants in the industry, with an empire of her own television network and a content creation deal with Apple TV+, INSIDER reports. Her great fortune also stems from several films that she’s starred in, including “The Color Purple,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Selma” and many more.
Michael Jordan – $1.6 Billion
Michael Jordan is regarded as the NBA’s greatest all-time player and has reached astronomical heights during his time in the league. Since retiring, he has dedicated his time to building up his billion-dollar fortune as one of the richest former professional athletes, AfroTech previously reported. He joined the billionaire club in 2014 after increasing his ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets, according to Sporting News, and has remained on Forbes’ billionaire list for the past five years.
Robert F. Smith – $6 Billion
Billionaire Robert F. Smith is well known as a tech investor and philanthropist who founded and also serves as CEO of Vista Equity Partners — which focuses exclusively on investing in software companies. He made headlines back in May 2019 for paying off the student debt of the entire Morehouse College graduating class, Blavity previously reported.
Abdulsamad Rabiu – $5.2 Billion
Abdulsamad Rabiu racked up his billion-dollar net worth as the founder of BUA Group — a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. According to AfroTech, last year he combined his two large cement companies, Obu Cement and Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, to continue building his business empire.
Michael Lee-Chin – $1.5 Billion
Jamaican-Canadian businessman and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin made his billion-dollar fortune by investing in financial companies like National Commercial Bank Jamaica and AIC Limited, according to AfroTech. He first made Forbes’ billionaires list back in 2010 and has appeared consecutively for the last four years.
Patrice Motsepe – $3.1 Billion
South African founder and chairman Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals became a billionaire in 2008 as the first African to make it onto the Forbes billionaire list. Most recently he became the continent’s new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), making him a certified soccer boss, according to Forbes.
Strive Masiyiwa – $1.5 Billion
Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa’s fortune was by no means an easy feat to accomplish. In order to reach billionaire status, he had to overcome a protracted government opposition to launch his mobile phone network, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, in his birth country back in 1998. He’s been featured on Forbes and Africa’s billionaire list since 2019, and even serves on Netflix’s board of directors, per our previous report.
David Steward – $3.7 Billion
David Steward, founder and chairman of IT provider World Wide Technology — the largest Black-owned company in America — is not your typical tech company founder. According to TIME, is background as a salesman and encouragement from his father have both contributed to his entrepreneurial success.
Mike Adenuga – $6.2 Billion
Mike Adenuga became Nigeria’s second richest man by building his fortune through his telecom company, Globacom, and oil production, as well as exploring business interests across several sectors of the economy and various parts of Africa, AfroTech reports.
Aliko Dangote – $11.4 Billion
Aliko Dangote is considered the richest Black man in the world as the founder and chairman of Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer and one of the largest private-sector employers in Nigeria. Part of his business empire was built from a $3,000 loan from his uncle used to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria, which we previously reported.