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The 10 richest Black people in America in 2023

by Omokolade Ajayi
Tyler Perry

According to Forbes, the United States has the highest number of billionaires in the world, with 724 billionaires. However, out of this number, only 10 of them are African-American.

Meet the 10 Black billionaires in America in 2023: 

1. Robert F. Smith

Net Worth: $8 billion

Source of Wealth: Private Equity

Robert F. Smith, 60, is the wealthiest Black person in the United States of America. He co-founded Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm primarily investing in software startups. With $96 billion in assets and annualized returns of 31 percent since inception, Vista is one of the best-performing private equity firms in the United States. Smith was trained as an engineer and worked for Kraft Foods and Goodyear Tire before earning his MBA at Columbia University. In addition, Smith is the first African-American to sign the Giving Pledge, a commitment to contribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

2. David Steward

Net Worth: $6 billion

Source of Wealth: IT Provider

David Steward, 71, is the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, an IT. service provider. The company had revenues of more than $14 billion in 2022 and boasts of Citi, Verizon, and the U.S. government as clients. Steward owns a majority stake in the company. Steward grew up in the segregated South with seven siblings, and his father was a mechanic, janitor, and trash collector. In 2018, he gave $1.3 million to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to establish the David and Thelma Steward Institute for Jazz Studies.

3. Oprah Winfrey

Net Worth: $2.5 billion

Source of Wealth: TV Shows

The one-time Queen of Daytime T.V. transitioned her famous talk show for 25 years into a media and business empire. Her Harpo Productions co-produced movies like “The Color Purple,” “Beloved,” and “Selma.” She also founded her cable channel OWN in 2011. In 2020, she sold off most of her stake in the network to Warner Bros. Discovery in exchange for hundreds of thousands of shares in the company. In April, she made a significant investment in Dr. Barbara Sturm’s skincare brand. She also owns an extensive real estate portfolio in Hawaii, Nashville, and California. 

4. Jay-Z

Net Worth: $2.5 billion

Source of Wealth: Alcohol, Music Streaming, Music Management

Jay-Z became the world’s first hip-hop first billionaire in 2019 thanks to the extraordinary success of his liquor businesses, among other ventures. In 2021, LVMH acquired a 50-percent share in its premium champagne brand Armand de Brignac, also known as Ace of Spades. In February 2023, Jay-Z sold a controlling stake in his cognac brand D’Usse to Bacardi. In 2015, Jay-Z bought Tidal, an obscure Norwegian streaming service, for $56 million. Six years later, in 2021, he sold an 80-percent stake in the business to Square Inc., a financial company, for $302 million. Jay-Z also has an extremely valuable fine art collection and owns a Venture Capital firm, Marcy Venture Partners.

5. Michael Jordan

Net Worth: $2 billion

Source of Wealth: Charlotte Hornets, Endorsements

Jordan, referred to by many as the greatest of all time, won six titles with the Chicago Bulls and earned $90 million in salaries throughout his professional career. But over the years, he has earned close to $2 billion from corporate partners such as Nike, Hanes, and Gatorade. His other assets include a stake in DraftKings, a sports-betting firm, and ownership of the Charlotte Hornets, a basketball team valued at over $1.5 billion. 

6. Alexander Karp

Net Worth: $1.4 billion

Source of Wealth: Palantir

Alexander Karp is the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, a publicly traded U.S. software business specializing in big data analytics. He is the son of a Jewish father and an African-American mother.

7. Tiger Woods

Net Worth: $1.1 billion

Source of Wealth: Golf

Tiger Woods, regarded as the greatest golfer of all time, has won $121 million in prize money, more than any other professional golfer in history. But most of his wealth comes from lucrative endorsement deals with brands such as Monster Energy, Rolex, Nike, and Gatorade. His other assets include a golf course design firm, a live production company, and Nexus Luxury Collection, a global hospitality real estate development and asset management company, among other ventures. 

8. LeBron James

Net Worth: $1.1 billion

Source of Wealth: Basketball, Endorsements

LeBron James became the first NBA player to earn a billion dollars. 

His pretax earnings with the Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers total more than $385 million. 

Off the court, he has earned well over $900 million (pretax) from commercial ventures and endorsement partnerships with corporations, including PepsiCo, Walmart, and his long-time sponsor, Nike. He also owns Beats by Dr. Dre and the Blaze Pizza fan base. 

9.Tyler Perry

Net Worth: $1 billion

Source of Wealth: Movies, Television

Tyler Perry is a director, actor, producer, and writer who has earned global acclaim for his “Madea” franchise, which has made over $660 million. He first made a name for himself in live theater in the 1990s before venturing into cinema and television in the 2000s. He owns 100 percent of his creative output, including more than 1,200 TV episodes, 22 feature films, at least two dozen stage plays, and a 330-acre studio on the outskirts of Atlanta. As of 2023, Perry is looking to acquire BET Media Group, a U.S. basic cable channel that targets African-American viewers

10. Sean “Diddy Combs

Net Worth: $1 billion

Source of Wealth: Liquor, Television

While Forbes has not officially declared Sean “Diddy” Combs a billionaire, in 2022, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Magazine’s former senior editor of media and entertainment – who also handled the valuations of entertainment billionaires for the publication before taking up a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia, published a post on his substack heralding Diddy as a billionaire. Diddy has an extremely profitable partnership with Diageo – which functions like an equity stake while creating cash flows for Diddy in the neighborhood of $60 million annually. His Ciroc deal makes up the bulk of his fortune. He also has other assets, such as his stakes in DeLeon tequila and Revolt TV) and his music catalog.

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