United States' 5 black billionaires

There are only 5 black billionaires in the United States, according to Forbes


There are about 330 million people in the United States. Of those, 607 are billionaires. Of those, only five are black.

Becoming a billionaire is obviously not easy, but it’s more difficult for minorities. 

As Business Insider points out, website McKinsey reported the median white family was $152,000 wealthier than its black counterpart in 2016. During that period, the median wealth of white families grew by more than $50,000, McKinsey reported, but the median wealth of black families stayed the same.

The racial divide can be seen worldwide. In 2019, only 13 of the world’s 2,153 billionaires were black.

» Forbes: These are the world’s 13 black billionaires in 2019

Here’s a look at the United States’ five black billionaires.

5. Jay-Z: $1 billion

Welcome to the club, Shawn Carter — aka Jay-Z. His On the Run II, his stadium tour with wife Beyoncé grossed roughly $5 million per night, pulling in more than $250 million. He became hip-hop's first billionaire thanks to an empire that includes liquor, art, real estate and stakes in companies like Uber.

» Forbes: These are the richest rappers of 2019

4. Michael Jordan: $1.9 billion

NBA great Jordan, whose playing salary totaled $90 million but he has earned another $1.4 billion (pre-tax) from corporate partners.still has sponsorship deals with Hanes, Gatorade and Upper Deck 15 years after retiring from basketball.

January 25, 2020 Atlanta - Oprah Winfrey speaks during Oprah's 2020 Vision Tour at State Farm Arena on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Today, Oprah Winfrey took the stage for the fourth stop of her national arena tour, Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus. Presented by WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined), Oprah is bringing a full day wellness event to nine U.S. cities through March 7. Joined by high profile guests including a marquee interview with Dwayne Johnson, Oprah will help motivate audiences to make 2020 the year of renewal and celebrate all we are meant to be. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

3. Oprah Winfrey: $2.7 billion

In addition to the media, entertainment and business empire she’s built, Winfrey owns shares in Weight Watchers and has a partnership with Apple. She has donated nearly half a billion dollars to charities throughout her career, including more than $100 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

» Oprah Winfrey focuses on wellness, grief at Atlanta appearance

2. David Steward: $3.5 billion

Steward is co-founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, an $11.2 billion (sales) IT provider whose customers include Citi, Verizon and the federal government. In the early days, Steward sometimes went without a paycheck and once watched his car get repossessed from the office parking lot.

Even those who aren’t so rich can follow the example of billionaire Robert F. Smith, shown at the May 19 Morehouse College graduation, and donate money to help college students. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1. Robert Smith: $5 billion

The third American on the list, Smith made his fortune through the private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, he founded in 2000. A graduate of Cornell, he pledged $50 million (personally and through a foundation) to the university in 2016.

» Robert Smith pays off Morehouse Class of 2019’s student loans

» Before Morehouse gift, Smith donated money to buy MLK birth home
» Forbes: These are the cities where African Americans are doing the best economically


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