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The 9 richest Black women in America in 2023

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Sheila Johnson

Forbes recently released its annual ranking of America’s 100 richest self-made women. Billionaires.Africa highlights the nine Black women who made the list this year:

With a net worth of $2.5 billionOprah Gail Winfrey, a talk show host turned media mogul, is the richest Black woman in America, according to Forbes.

Oprah’s fortune is derived from profits from her hit talk show which ran for 25 years, and profits from movies her production company, Harpo Productions, produced. Her other assets include a stake in her cable channel, Oprah Winfrey Network, Warner Bros. Discovery, a tiny stake in Weight Watchers, and a sizeable real estate portfolio. 

With a net worth of $1.4 billionRihanna, from Barbados, is the second richest Black woman in America. The star singer co-owns the cosmetics line Fenty Beauty with French luxury retailer LVMH. Her stake in Fenty Beauty forms the bulk of her fortune. She also has a 30-percent stake in the Savage x Fenty lingerie line.

Sheila E. Johnson, the ex-wife of Black Entertainment Television’s founder, Robert L. Johnson, is the third richest Black woman in America, with a fortune pegged at $840 million. She channeled a hefty divorce settlement into investments in hotels throughout Florida and Virginia, airplanes, real estate, and horses. She is the CEO of Salamander Hotel And Resorts. 

According to Forbes, Janice Bryant Howroyd, the founder and CEO of staffing giant ActOne, is worth $600 million and is the fourth richest Black woman in America. She started ActOne in 1978 with $1,500 (including a $900 loan from her mother) and built it into one of America’s most successful companies over the last few decades. In addition, Howroyd has an impressive collection of dozens of commercial rental properties and residences.

Superstar Beyonce Knowles has a $540 million net worth thanks to her ultra-successful career as a musician. Beyonce, the fifth richest Black woman in America, is poised to get even richer. Her current Renaissance world tour is on track to outperform Taylor Swift’s world tour and rake in $2 billion. Her Ivy Park clothing line with Adidas was reportedly canceled in March, as she announced a collaboration with fashion house Balmain themed after her newest album.

Thirty-eight-year-old Iman Abuzeid is America’s sixth richest Black woman, with a fortune pegged at $350 million. Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, a company she started in 2017 to help health systems source permanent nurse talent. Incredible Health raised 80 million from private investors in 2022, giving the company a $1.65-billion valuation.

Emma Grede, worth $320 million, is America’s seventh richest Black woman. She is the CEO of Good American; She is the CEO of Good American, a size-inclusive apparel line that she cofounded with Khloe Kardashian in 2016. She is also a founding partner and chief product officer of Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brands Skims.

Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players in history, is America’s eighth richest Black woman with a $290 million net worth. She has earned more than $90 million in prize money and channeled that money and income from lucrative endorsements into real estate and Serena Ventures, her private investment firm, which has investments in more than 60 startups.

Shonda Rhimes, a renowned showrunner, debuted on the Forbes ranking of the wealthiest self-made women in America, with a fortune estimated at $250 million, making her the ninth richest Black woman in America. The Shondaland founder has created hit shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” She also has a $100-million five-year deal with Netflix that resulted in the streaming giant’s high-performing series “Bridgerton” and the “Queen Charlotte” prequel.

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