The Richest Self-Made Black Women

In addition to being the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, black women are securing the bag and stacking their coins like never before. Several women of color were named on America’s Richest Self-Made Women list, recently published by Forbes. Here’s a look at the black women who made the list.



At just 31 years old, Rihanna is officially the wealthiest female musician on the planet, according to ForbesThe publication estimates her net worth at $600 million, trumping the wealth of fellow music superstars Madonna ($570 million), Celine Dion ($450 million), and Beyoncé ($400 million).

A large part of the singer’s wealth has been generated through her cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty, which launched in collaboration with luxury giant LVMH in September 2017. Noted for its inclusive range of 40 shades of foundation, Fenty reportedly racked up $100 million in sales within weeks due to the Bajan artist’s mass appeal and social media following. Since then, sales for the beauty brand have continued to soar.

“Fenty Beauty generated an estimated $570 million in revenue last year, after only 15 months in business. The entire operation is worth, conservatively, more than $3 billion. Forbes estimates that LVMH owns an estimated 50% of it, while Rihanna has about 15%, a figure a spokesperson for the artist disputed but wouldn’t clarify further,” writes Forbes.

In May, LVMH announced that it was opening a fashion house under Fenty name. This makes the style icon the first black woman to head a major luxury fashion house. Her new clothing line with LVMH, which includes high-end clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry, launched in Paris on May 24. In addition, the pop star co-owns the Savage X Fenty lingerie line with TechStyle Fashion Group.

Janice Bryant Howroyd

Act-1 Group Founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd (Image: Courtesy of Black Enterprise Business Report)

Janice Bryant Howroyd is the founder and CEO of ACT-1 Group and the first African American woman to run a billion-dollar business. Her company, which provides workforce solutions such as temporary staffing, raked in a whopping $2.8 billion in revenues in 2017 and placed as No. 2 on BLACK ENTERPRISE’S annual BE 100s list of the nation’s largest black businesses.

Bryant Howroyd launched the business back in 1978 with just $1,500, a $900 loan from her mother, a fax machine, and a phone. Today, the agency has over 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees in 19 different countries.

Sheila Johnson

Sheila Johnson

Sheila Johnson is a business titan most known for co-founding Black Entertainment Television (BET) with then-husband Robert Johnson and selling it to Viacom for roughly $3 billion in 2000. Following their divorce in 2002, Johnson launched the Salamander Resort & Spa in 2005. The luxury hotel company owns two properties and manages five others around the Southeastern region of the United States. Its growth strategy has resulted in an impressive 24% jump in revenues, from $170 million in 2016 to $210 million in 2017.

Today, Johnson’s net worth is estimated at about $820 million while her resort company was recognized as the 2018 BE 100s Company of the Year.  


(Image: ABC/Rick Rowell via

With a net worth of a $2.5 billion, Oprah Winfrey is ranked as no.10 on the Forbes’s list and is one of just five black billionaires in the country. The “Queen of All Media” accumulated her staggering wealth thanks in large part to her partnership with Weight Watchers. Back in 2015, 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, like her cable channel OWN. “Her 25.5% of the network is worth about $75 million,” reports Forbes. Last year, she inked a multi-year content partnership deal with Apple to create original content that will include a book club, documentaries, and TV series.


(Image: Instagram/Beyonce)

Although married to the first hip hop billionaire, Beyonce Knowles Carter is a business mogul who earns her own money and an unsurprising spot on the list. According to Forbes, the superstar is worth $400 million. Earlier this year, she announced a new partnership with Adidas to relaunch her activewear line, Ivy Park. She also stars in Disney’s 2019 Lion King remake.

Beyonce’s On The Run II stadium tour with husband Jay-Z grossed more than $250 million. The superstar singer also signed a deal with Netflix reportedly worth $60 million to release Homecoming, a live album and special documenting her groundbreaking 2018 performance at Coachella.

Furthermore, it is rumored that Beyonce scored big money when Uber went public last month. People magazine reports that Queen Bey received $6 million in restricted stock units (RSUs) from Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick to perform at an event. With the IPO, speculations abound that she made $300 million from her shares.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams (Wikimedia Commons)

Serena Williams is known for her prowess on and off the tennis court. The 23-time Grand Slam winner has made a number of boss business moves. She launched Serena Ventures, an investment firm focused on companies founded by women and minorities, which has invested in 34 startups in a portfolio worth at least $10 million.

In 2018, the tennis champ launched a self-funded clothing line called S by Serena. She also owns stakes in the Miami Dolphins and UFC and has signed multiple endorsement deals with major brands throughout her career, including Gatorade, Delta Air Lines, Aston Martin, Pepsi, and Beats by Dre.