How Rihanna Went Nearly Bankrupt, Then Turned It Into A $600M Empire
Photo Credit: Lia Toby/BFC/Getty Images
Rihanna is doing numbers, period. The songstress turned entrepreneur made history in 2019 becoming the world’s richest female musician surpassing Beyoncé, Madonna, and Céline Dion. However, don’t let her now $600 million empire fool you because her wealth didn’t come easy. The Barbados native used her voice, eye for fashion, business acumen, and bounce back mentality to grow her empire.
In 2007, around the time Rihanna released the hit “Umbrella,” she had a net worth close to $50 million, according to Money Nation. Since then the singer has scaled her career to new heights via entrepreneurship despite bumps in the road along the way.
In 2009, Rihanna was the victim of a domestic violence assault at the hand of her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown and nearly faced bankruptcy. Business Insider reports Rihanna started 2009 with $11 million in cash and ended the year with $2 million.
Her fall in income was attributed to ill advice from her ex-accountant who she later sued for managing funds incorrectly, keeping an unfair amount of profits, and not properly filing taxes, according to the HuffPost. Rihanna went on to win the lawsuit against Berdon LLP in 2012, coming out on top with a $10 million settlement. In fact, the hit song “B–ch Better Have My Money” was inspired by her legal battle.
Since her 2009 woes Rihanna and her fanbase, The Navy, haven’t looked back. In 2017, the star put her entrepreneurial spirit to use and launched Fenty Beauty, a makeup line focused on all skin types and tones co-owned by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton). According to Forbes, Fenty Beauty made $100 million in sales its first week after its launch. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Fenty went on to rack up $570 million in its first 15 months of operation.
Despite her massive success, Rihanna doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon, according to The New York Times Style Magazine.
“I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working,” Rihanna told The Times Style Magazine.
She continues to expand her Fenty brand with Savage X Fenty, a lingerie line that launched in May of 2018, followed by her luxury fashion line of FENTY with LVMH almost a year later.
Her partnership caused her to make history by being the first woman to develop an original brand at LVMH, the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison, and her collection was the first new house created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987, according to The New York Times.
Her hard work has garnered her nearly 80 million Instagram followers and the 2020 NAACP President’s Award which she is set to receive at this year’s NAACP Image Awards on February 22.
“From her business achievements through Fenty, to her tremendous record as an activist and philanthropist, Rihanna epitomizes the type of character, grace and devotion to justice that we seek to highlight in our President’s Award,” Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, told BET.
We stand in awe of Rihanna’s empire and how she continues to leave her iconic footprint on the world of music, fashion, and beauty. Salute #RihannaNavy.