Home » Ten Black businesspeople in the U.S. worth knowing aside Tyler Perry, Oprah, and Rihanna

Ten Black businesspeople in the U.S. worth knowing aside Tyler Perry, Oprah, and Rihanna

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Janice Bryant Howroyd

While there are many successful Black businesspeople in the United States, much of the attention has been focused on the 10 richest individuals, who have amassed a billion-dollar net worth. But it’s important to recognize that there are numerous other super-wealthy entrepreneurs, who have created value for the public while also building wealth for themselves and their stakeholders. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 2.5 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, with the vast majority being sole proprietorships or small-scale businesses. The surge in Black entrepreneurship highlights the growing importance of minority-owned businesses in the U.S. economy.

In fact, the latest data from the Census Bureau in 2022 reveals that an estimated 140,918 Black- or African-American-owned businesses generated $141.1 billion in annual receipts and about $42.2 billion in annual payroll.

Despite the challenging economic climate of recent times, Black-owned businesses have continued to thrive and deliver value to their customers.

As such, it is essential to highlight the success of some of the captains of industry beyond the well-known billionaires such as Robert Smith, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, and Rihanna.

To that end, Billionaires.Africa recently conducted research to identify 10 Black businesspeople in the United States who are worth knowing about. This list includes individuals who have achieved remarkable success in a variety of fields and who have made significant contributions to their industries and communities.

#1 Janice Bryant Howroyd

Major source of financial success: ActOne

Janice Bryant Howroyd is a highly successful businesswoman and one of the wealthiest Black women in the world, with a present net worth of $630 million. She founded ActOne in 1978 with only $1,500, which included a $900 loan from her mother, a fax machine, and a phone.

Today, ActOne has grown to become one of the largest global staffing agencies, with more than 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees in 19 countries. Her net worth has skyrocketed, increasing from $285 million in 2020 to its present value of $630 million. 

#2 George Foreman

Major source of financial success: George Foreman Grill

George Foreman is a former American professional boxer, minister, and successful entrepreneur, renowned for his signature product, the George Foreman Grill.

The innovative, double-sided electric grill was developed based on his personal commitment to healthy eating and has become a household name, having sold more than 100 million units.

Originally, Salton, Inc. approached Foreman to endorse its fat-reducing grill, which later became known as the George Foreman Grill. With his exceptional salesmanship, Foreman quickly became the face of the product, leading to its unprecedented success.

In fact, in 1999, Salton paid Foreman a staggering $138 million for the rights to use his name. At its peak, Foreman received monthly payouts of $4.5 million, resulting in an estimated total of over $200 million just from the endorsement until 2011.

The amount is significantly higher than his earnings as a boxer.

#3 Eddie Brown

Major source of financial success: Brown Capital Management

Eddie Brown, a former portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price, is a successful U.S. investment manager, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

As the founder and president of Baltimore-based Brown Capital Management, his stock-picking expertise has helped the firm amass more than $10 billion in assets under management since its inception in 1983.

Brown Capital’s Small Company Fund has outperformed the Russell 2000 Growth Index with an average annual return of over 12 percent since 1992.

Though closed to investors, the firm has expanded into international small- and mid-cap stocks.

#4 Sheila Johnson

Major source of financial success: Black Entertainment Network

Sheila Johnson is a highly accomplished American businesswoman and co-founder of the cable TV channel BET (Black Entertainment Network), which she started with her ex-husband, Robert Johnson. As reported by Forbes, Johnson is one of the wealthiest Black women in the United States and was the first African-American woman to achieve a net worth of at least $1 billion.

Although her fortune has decreased in recent years, her net worth has risen by more than $30 million this year, increasing from $750 million at the start of the year to $780 million presently, according to Forbes.

#5 Tyra Banks

Major source of financial success: America’s Next Top Model, Top Model

Tyra Banks, a successful American television personality, model, and producer, made history as the first African-American woman to grace the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. As a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005, she solidified her place as a top model.

Today, Banks is the CEO of Bankable Productions, the production company behind popular shows like America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. Additionally, she has authored books, launched a makeup line, and pursued other ventures.

Banks’ executive production and presentation of “America’s Next Top Model” for 22 seasons led to high ratings and increased earnings, ultimately leading to the launch of Top Model in 2003.

#6 Tracy Maitland

Major source of financial success: Advent Capital Management

Tracy Maitland is the founder, president, and chief investment officer of Advent Capital Management, which he started in 1995. His expertise in investment strategies involving convertible bonds has helped grow Advent Capital into a leading $9-billion investment firm.

Prior to founding Advent, Maitland was a director in the convertible securities department at Merrill Lynch, leveraging the company’s position in convertibles to create a unique advantage in investing and trading in the convertible market.

#7 Cathy Hughes

Major source of financial success: RadioOne

#8 Shonda Rhimes

Major source of financial success: ShondaLand

#9 Daymond John

Major source of financial success: FUBU (For Us By Us)

#10 Chris Gardner

Major source of financial success: Gardner Rich & Co.

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