ACCORDING to Forbes, there are currently 2,640 billionaires in the world. They are collectively worth $12.2 trillion. The United States is the number one home of billionaires with 735 of them, followed by China’s 495 billionaires and India’s 169 billionaires.
There are only 17 Black billionaires in the world according to this list, making the group less than 1% of the list.
Most of these names you’re already familiar with as being billionaires for many years but some of them are newly added to the list. Today, we will look at all 17 of them and how they made their money.
17) Lebron James
This 18 times NBA All-Star, four-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist is a history-making billionaire as he becomes the very first active player to make it on Forbes’ list of world billionaires with $1 billion.
In 2021, Lebron is estimated to have earned $121.2 million. Lebron told GQ magazine in 2014 that becoming a billionaire is his biggest milestone, and less than a decade later, he is one.
Besides earning $385 million in salary from the various NBA teams he has played for, Lebron has also brought in $900 million from endorsements and other business ventures.
He signed his first deal with Nike back in 2003 as an 18-year-old and made a lifetime agreement with the brand in 2015. That Nike deal alone pays him tens of millions every year.
But what Lebron does besides being the face of brands is get equity in the brands he partners with, giving him a stake in the brands instead of just a paycheck for his pitches.
16) Tyler Perry
Media mogul Tyler Perry joined the billionaire list in September of 2020 and is currently worth $1 billion.
He was the third highest-paid entertainer in the world in 2022, bringing in an estimated $175 million. Of course, Perry is best known for this seemingly never-ending Madea movies but he has a lot going on outside of the Madea world.
Perry had a seven-year partnership with Oprah’s OWN network and created shows like “The Have and Have Nots” and “If Loving You Is Wrong.”
In 2017, he signed a contract with BET’s parent company, Viacom, to produce exclusive original content for BET.
The deal also gives Tyler 25% equity stake in BET’s streaming service BET+. Forbes also estimates Tyler Perry Studios, the 300-acre production studio in Atlanta, is worth $280 million.
15) Sean “Diddy” Combs
Sean “Diddy” Combs has been Hip Hop royalty for 3 decades and now lands on the list of billionaires.
Aside from building his wealth in the world of hip hop, Diddy also made a bulk of his money from popular vodka brand Ciroc.
The rapper also owns half of DeLeon tequila. His other business ventures also include his Revolt television network and his clothing brand Sean Jean, which has earned him millions since it was founded in 1998.
Diddy is estimated to be worth $1 billion.
14) Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is another newcomer to the billionaire list, making it in 2022 with an estimated worth of $1.1 billion.
Over the years, Tiger has brought in over $1.7 billion in salary and endorsements from major brands like Gatorade, Rolex, Nike and Monster Energy.
He held the number one spot in Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list for 10 consecutive years, which ended in 2012. Even in a year where he was hardly ever on the golf course because he was recovering from a serious car accident, Tiger still managed to earn $68 million in off-course income, making him the 14th highest-paid athlete in the world.
Tiger Woods won his first Masters Championship in 1997 and won $486,000 in prize money.
He now has various business ventures including a golf design business, a live events production company, and a restaurant.
Rihanna is the wealthiest female musician in the world with an estimated worth of $1.4 billion, thanks to her off-stage business ventures, most notably her makeup like Fenty Beauty.
Rihanna owns 50% stake in the popular makeup line, with the other 50% owned by French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Her portion of Savage x Fenty, where she owns 30% stake, is worth an estimated $270 million.
Rihanna has become the most successful celebrity to launch a makeup line.
12) Alexander Karp
Alexander Karp is the co-founder and CEO of data mining firm Palantir Technologies. He was born to a Jewish father and an African American mother in New York City and is now estimated to be worth $1.4 billion.
He met the now billionaire Facebook investor Peter Theil while at Stanford Law School and co-founded Palantir with him. Karp also founded the Lonon-basked money management firm Caedmon Group.
Karp, who describes himself as a progressive, has at times faced criticism for his company working with the U.S. military and with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the controversy over family separations policies.
11) Michael Lee-Chin
This Jamaican-Canadian billionaire businessman is the CEO of Portland Holdings Inc, a privately held investment company in Ontario, Canada.
His net worth is estimated to be at $1.4 billion. Michael Lee-Chin was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica and both his parents were biracial African and Jamaican-Chinese.
In his teen years, Lee-Chin worked a landscape job at the Frenchman’s Cove Hotel in Jamaica and had a gig cleaning the engine room on the Jamaican Queen cruise ship.
He moved to Canada on a scholarship program sponsored by the Jamaican government to study Civil Engineering.
But he deviated from the engineering field to find work as a financial advisor, later acquiring a company called Advantage Investment Council. He renamed the company AIC and grew it from having $800,000 in holdings to around $6 billion.
10) Michael Jordan
There are so many titles you can put on Michael Jordan, from the greatest NBA player of all time to now the richest former professional athlete in the world with a net worth of $2 billion.
Believe it or not, Jordan actually made less than $100 million in NBA contracts, so a vast majority of his wealth was built after retiring from the game 20 years ago. His biggest source of wealth is his stake in the NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets.
And Jordan reportedly still makes $100 million annually from Nike royalties alone.
Besides being extremely competitive, Jordan is also known as a great philanthropist with millions in donations to nonprofits like Make A Wish Foundation and Feeding America.
9) Strive Masiyiwa
This London-based Zimbabwean billionaire businessman is the founder and executive chairman of internal technologies groups Econet Global and Cassava Technologies.
Masiyiwa’s family left Zimbabwe and settled in Zambia when he was 7 and attended private school in Scotland starting at the age of 12.
Econet Global has business operations in more than 20 countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America, The United Kingdom, China and more.
Masiyiwa is also a huge philanthropist that has supported and educated over 40,000 children in Africa through his family foundation. He is estimated to be worth $2 billion.
8) Jay- Z
Hip-hop’s first billionaire is now worth $2.5 billion thanks to his many and diverse investments. He has stakes in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Usse cognac as well as investments in Uber and various real estate properties. Back in 2021, the digital payments company Square acquired a majority ownership stake in Tidal, Jay Z’s music streaming company. The deal was for a mix of cash and stock of $297 million. Jay bought Tidal in 2015 for $56 million.
That wasn’t the first time the rapper sold one of his companies for large sums. In 2007, Jay-Z’s Rocawear, a clothing company he started in 1999, was sold for $204 million.
7) Oprah Winfrey
Oprah, aka the Queen of all media, is currently estimated to be worth $2.5 billion. Most talk show hosts ride off into the sunset after their career in talk show hosting ends, but not Oprah. She has roared into the media empire with her own cable channel, OWN, which launched in 2011. She later sold most of her stake in the network to Discovery. She has a vast real estate portfolio and a stake in Weight Watchers.
Oprah has donated $425 million throughout her career with over $100 million of it going to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
6) Patrice Motsepe
This South African mining billionaire is the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals. The company has interest in gold, platinum, base minerals, and more. He was the first African on the Forbes billionaire list when he became one back in 2008. Motsepe is currently worth $2.7 billion.
In 2016, he launched African Rainbow Capital, a private equity firm focused on investing in Africa. Motsepe was the first African to sign Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge back in 2013, a commitment to contribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.
5) David Steward
David Steward is the billionaire chairman and founder of World Wide Technology, one of the largest black-owned businesses in America.
He is the majority owner of World Wide Technology, which is valued at $14.5 billion with customers like Verizon, Citi, and the federal government. Steward himself is valued at $6 billion.
Steward was born in Chicago but raised in Clinton, Missouri with his seven siblings in a small house with no indoor plumbing or heating.
He credits his father, a hard-working mechanic, for being the first entrepreneur he ever knew.
4) Mike Adenuga
Mike Adengua is the sixth richest person in Africa and the founder of Globacom, Nigeria’s third-largest telecom operator.
He made his first billion back in 1979 selling lace and distributing soft drinks. His other company, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
While receiving his MBA at Pace University in New York, Adenuga supported himself as a taxi driver. He is now estimated to be worth $6.1 billion.
3) Robert F. Smith
Robert F. Smith founded the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000.
The company exclusively invests in software companies and has $96 billion in assets and has been one of the best-performing private equity firms for years.
Before he launched Vista Equity Partners, Smith worked at Goldman Sachs, overseeing $50 billion in assets. He is estimated to be worth $8 billion.
Smith is the first African-American to sign the Giving Pledge.
2) Abdul Samad Rabiu
Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with businesses in cement production, sugar refining, and real estate.
He first got his start when he inherited land from his father, who was Nigeria’s foremost industrialists in the 1970s and ‘80s.
He set up his business importing iron, steel, and chemicals back in 1988. He is currently worth $8.3 billion.
One extra interesting thing about Adulsamad Rabiu is that he has 42 siblings!
- Aliko Dangote
This Nigerian business mogul is the richest person in Africa with an estimated net worth of $14.2 billion.
Dangote’s fortune is primarily from his company, Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer.
Although the company is publicly traded, Dangote still owns 85% of the company. He began building his fortunes selling commodities like sugar, salt, and flour.
Dangote also built the massive Dangote Fertiliser Plant on the outskirts of Lagos.
He is also slated to open Dangote Refinery, a refinery that’s expected to be the second largest in the world.