Jay-Z Becomes Fifth Black Billionaire in the U.S.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has won the race to become the first billionaire in hip-hop, beating music moguls Sean P. Diddy Combs and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young to the threshold, according to a new cover story published in ForbesThis also makes Carter just the fifth African American in the country to reach this historic milestone.

Forbes reports that Carter “has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion” thanks to his savvy business acumen and diverse portfolio of lucrative investments, acquisitions, and deals. “Jay-Z’s steadily growing kingdom is expansive, encompassing liquor, art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber,” it reads.


The publication then explains how they came to this conclusion, listing a breakdown of Carter’s major assets. “To calculate his net worth, we looked at the artist’s stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne—applying our customary discount to private firms—then added up his income, subtracting a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle,” states the report. His assets are as follows:

  • Armand de Brignac champagne – $310 million
  • Cash and investments, including a $70 million stake in Uber – $220 million
  • D’Ussé cognac – $100 million
  • Tidal streaming service – $100 million
  • Roc Nation – $75 million
  • Music catalog – $75 million
  • Art collection – $70 million
  • Real estate – $50 million

In 2018, Forbes listed Carter as the wealthiest rapper with a $900 million net worth, while Combs came in second with a net worth of $820 million. Young ranked third with $770 million. At the time, it was hard to predict which of the artists would hit the billion benchmark first. But, as time would tell, the Brooklyn-born rapper became the first to join the ranks with the four other black billionaires in the U.S.

The Black Billionaire’s List

Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity founder, chairman, and CEO Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners, is reportedly worth $5 billion. Last year, Vista Equity Partners was recognized as the top private equity firm on the BE 100s (BLACK ENTERPRISE’S annual list of the top black-owned companies in the nation), generating $14 billion in capital. Earlier this year, Vista Equity-acquired company, Marketo, was sold to Adobe for $4.7 billion. Smith’s firm was also recognized as the BE100s Financial Services Company of the Year in 2013.

In May, the generous philanthropist donated $40 million to the graduating class of Morehouse college to cover their student loans.

Oprah Winfrey

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The “Queen of All Media” has accumulated a massive net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes, thanks in large part to her partnership with Weight Watchers. Back in 2015, Oprah Winfrey bought a 10% stake and became an ambassador for the company. By June 2018, her stake was estimated at $427 million. Winfrey also generates revenue through several other business endeavors, including ownership of the cable network OWN, Harpo Films, a multi-year content partnership deal with Apple, and her iconic talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Michael Jordan

(Image: File)

Although considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan only made about $90 million during his stellar career in the NBA. Today, however, the basketball legend is worth an estimated $1.9 billion thanks to lucrative endorsements, like his lifetime deal with Nike, and big investments, like his purchase of the Charlotte Hornets.

David Steward

World Wide Technology Founder and Chairman David Steward

With a net worth of $3 billion, David Steward ranks as No. 745 on Forbes’ 2019 list of global billionaires. In 1990, Steward invested $250,000 that he earned from two auditing ventures to launch World Wide Technology (WWT), an IT provider that offers hardware and software products and services to large public and private customers in various sectors. Its clients include Citi, Verizon, and the U.S. government. In 2017, WWT earned $10.2 billion in sales and was ranked as No. 1 on the BE 100s list. The business tycoon also graced the cover of BLACK ENTERPRISE in June 2001.