The story of the Black community is full of oppression, systemic racism, police brutality, and numerous other misfortunes.
This list tells a different story. One of unapologetic, in-your-face Black excellence. One that inspires pride and motivates.
Read on to learn of the most financially-successful Black entertainers in the world.
1. Dr Dre (Highest Annual Earnings: $620 Million)
There are conflicting reports about Dr Dre’s wealth and net worth, but one thing is for sure: This super producer has earned a lot of money.
In 2014, Dr Dre raked in a whopping $620 million, hundreds of millions more than any of the other Black entertainers on this list have ever earned in one year. That year, Dr Dre topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid entertainers in the world, a feat he had already achieved in 2012 when he earned $110 million.
Interestingly, Dr Dre started earning the big bucks decades ago. In 2001, he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, earning $35 million.
So incredible is Dr Dre’s earning record that he was the highest-paid entertainer of the 2010s decade, earning a staggering $950 million and leaving the likes of Taylor Swift, Diddy, Jay Z, and Beyonce in the dust.
In 2014, right after he sold Beats Music to Apple, Dr Dre’s net worth peaked at around $800 million. He came close to being hip-hop’s first billionaire, but taxes took a huge chunk of his proceeds from the sale.
In 2022, Dr Dre’s net worth was estimated at around $450 million. The YouTube video below by The Richest attempts to explain how he spent all his money:
2. Jay Z (Highest Annual Earnings: $340 Million)
Billboard credits Jay Z as the greatest rapper of all time, and his music career has propelled him to billionaire status. As of 2023, Forbes estimates the GOAT rapper’s net worth at $2.5 billion.
Jay Z pocketed a whopping $340 million in 2021, making him the third highest-paid entertainer that year.
As incredible as Jay Z’s rapping career has been, his position atop this list can only be attributed to his razor-sharp business acumen, which has seen him invest in high-performing stocks like Uber and establish iconic brands like his Ace of Spades champagne.
The following are the major sources of Jay Z’s income:
- Armand De Brignac (Ace of Spades) champagne. A bottle of this luxury drink goes for $300, and Jay Z has been selling these since 2006.
- An impressive investment portfolio worth an estimated $220 million. It includes $70 million worth of Uber stock.
- D’Usse, a cognac brand that sells for around $82 a bottle and moves an estimated 200,000 cases a year.
- Tidal, a music streaming service he bought in 2015.
- Roc Nation, an entertainment company that represents stars like Rihanna, J Cole, and Kevin Durant.
- The music catalogue he fought to get back from record labels like EMI, which is steamed about 1 billion times a year.
The Key to Jay Z’s Success: Using His Superstar Status to Advertise His Brands
The typical US celebrity commands the attention of millions in the US and across the world. As a result, brands pay a premium to get celebrity endorsements.
Jay Z figured he would leverage his super-celebrity status to build his brands. For example, he used the song “Show Me What You Got” to launch the Ace of Spades champagne. Here’s a YouTube video of the song:
Since then, Jay Z has been marketing his brands in his songs, for example by including verses about them. And thanks to his brilliance, he was the first hip-hop artist to cross the $1 billion dollar net-worth mark.
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3. Floyd Mayweather (Highest Annual Earnings: $300 Million)
No other boxer has earned more than Floyd Mayweather, which has made him one of the highest-paid entertainers there are.
Mayweather’s annual earnings are stupendous:
- $300 million in 2015, $285 million from winnings and $15 million from endorsements.
- $285 million in 2018, $275 million from winnings and $10 million from endorsements.
- $105 million in 2014, all from winnings.
In 2014, 2015, and 2018, Forbes ranked Mayweather as the highest-paid sports athlete globally.
Between 2010 and 2019, Mayweather earned a staggering $915 million, earning at least $100 million more than other sports heavyweights, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods.
Despite these impressive figures, Mayweather isn’t a billionaire, unlike other names in this list. As of 2023, his net worth is estimated at $450 million.
Even though he’s not a billionaire, Mayweather’s financial record is impressive in another sense. He is one of only six sportsmen in history to have earned more than $1 billion in their careers.
The other Black member of this exclusive club is Michael Jordan.
Mayweather’s Strategic Capability is Exceptional
Mayweather’s success as the highest-paid boxer in history is no fluke and showcases an impressive strategic brain at work.
To begin with, Mayweather bought himself out of his contract for $750,000 in 2006. He then proceeded to set a record by earning $750 million from three fights.
Another strategy Mayweather employed was to get hit less during his career so that he could last longer. He participated in fewer fights and as a result, is in much better shape healthwise than most boxers and can still make huge money moves like the Mayweather Boxing+Fitness Chain.
Listen to the undefeated boxing champion talk about his money in this interview with Forbes:
4. Tyler Perry (Highest Annual Earnings: $175 Million)
Tyler Perry is one of the most well-known names in Black entertainment, and it’s no surprise that he’s on this list. The brains behind the Madea franchise raked in $175 million in 2023, making it onto Forbes’ list of the highest-paid entertainers.
Perry ranked higher than the likes of Brad Pitt, Taylor Swift, and Rolling Stones and was third on the list. His earnings are so high that he was the only billionaire on the list.
The billionaire’s stupendous earnings come from:
- His 330-acre film production lot in Atlanta, which he hires out to filmmakers. The lot includes a to-scale White House and 12 sound stages.
- The sale of series like “House of Payne” to television networks. For example, Tyler is said to have pocketed about $138 million from TBS in one deal.
- The Madea franchise, which has grossed over $600 million at the Box Office in 11 years. Perry is said to have pocketed about $290 million.
- His BET TV shows.
Tyler Perry’s Success Emphasizes the Importance of Ownership
Perry’s billionaire status is largely due to his ownership of all the content he has created since the 1990s. To further illustrate the importance of ownership, Perry has credited his superior earnings from the production lot in Atlanta to the fact that he owns everything, from the lights to the sets.
Listen to Tyler talk about how crucial ownership is in the video below:
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5. Kanye West aka Ye (Highest Annual Earnings: $170 Million)
Kanye West, who has rebranded himself as Ye, was the second hip-hop artist to make it to the list of billionaires. In his heyday, he was worth $2 billion and was undoubtedly one of the richest black entertainers globally.
In 2020, Ye earned $170 million to rank him second on the list of highest-paid entertainers that year. Most of this money came from his deal with Adidas, which saw him designing Yeezy sneakers for the brand in an inspired move that resulted in massive success.
Unfortunately for Ye, the backlash from his controversial comments was costly and reduced his net worth by $1.6 billion. He is reportedly worth only $400 million.
After losing his partnership with Adidas, most of Ye’s earnings come from his music, including album sales and proceeds from streams and tours. He also has a stake in Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm.
Despite Kanye’s downfall, the story of his financial rise is nothing short of inspirational and given his resilience, we may see him bounce back. See the genius behind Adidas’ Yeezy shoes in this interview with Forbes:
6. Sean Diddy Combs (Highest Annual Earnings: $130 Million)
Diddy (P. Diddy) is one of hip-hop’s most prolific rappers and the third hip-hop artist, after Jay Z and Kanye West, to attain billionaire status.
In 2017, Diddy topped the list of highest-paid musicians with an income of $130 million.
In 2022, Diddy raked in $90 million to make him the 14th highest-paid entertainer. It was also in 2022 that he became a billionaire. His current net worth is estimated at $1 billion.
Over the years, Diddy’s earnings have come from:
- His record label, Bad Boy Records, which was worth $100 million at its height.
- His clothing label, Sean Jean, which made sales of $450 million in 2016.
- His MTV series, Making The Band.
- His brand ambassadorship for the Ciroc Vodka brand.
- The digital cable network Revolt TV.
- His stake in Aquahydrate, a water brand that generated $65 million in sales in 2020.
- His music.
In an effort to celebrate Black excellence, Diddy flies around in an all-black private jet that’s colored black and has an all-Black crew.
Listen to Diddy talk about money and sense in this interview with Ellen Degeneres:
7. LeBron James (Highest Annual Earnings: $121 Million)
LeBron is one of the greatest to ever shoot a ball through a hoop, and his financials reflect that. A 2023 ranking puts his net worth at $1 billion, just $100 million under Tiger Woods.
Considering that the basketball legend still has a couple more seasons left, he still has time to catch up to Woods and maybe even join the prestigious club of athletes with more than $1 billion in career earnings.
His Forbes rankings for the last three years have been the best in his career:
- In the 2023 ranking, he earned $119.5 million, making him the 4th highest-paid athlete globally.
- In the 2022 ranking, he earned $121.2 million and was the 2nd highest-paid athlete worldwide.
- In the 2021 ranking, he earned $96.5 million and was the 5th highest-paid athlete globally.
Between 2010 and 2019, he was the fourth highest-paid athlete worldwide, ranking behind only Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. He earned $680 million.
Most of LeBron’s off-court earnings come from endorsements from companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Beats by Dre, and Samsung.
Here’s the video that Forbes released when LeBron James officially became a billionaire:
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8. Beyonce (Highest Annual Earnings: $115 Million)
Billboard estimates Beyonce’s net worth at $450 million. The queen has had an impressively successful career, smashing record after record.
Her earnings have been growing steadily:
- In 2008, she earned $80 million.
- In 2010, she earned $87 million.
- In 2014, she earned $115 million.
- In 2015, she earned $105 million.
Beyonce’s income is primarily from her music and endorsements. Her musical tours are lucrative. Moreover, she’s had big endorsement deals with companies like American Express, Samsung, and Ford over the years.
In 2018, Beyonce signed a deal worth $60 million with Netflix in exchange for helping them produce content about her.
She also has sharp business acumen. Since 2010, her fragrance brands have generated more than $500 million in revenue.
Here’s Forbes’ account of how the phenomenal singer built her empire:
When Rihanna achieved billionaire status, she became the youngest self-made billionaire. And that’s just one of the many records she has smashed financially and in music.
Rihanna’s estimated net worth is an impressive $1.4 billion. While most of this comes from the wildly-successful Fenty Beauty, she’s also made a lot from music. Her Diamond tour raked in $137 million in revenue, and in 2016, she made $22 million from music.
The exceptional singer also owns a 30% stake in Savage X Fenty, a lingerie line, and part of Tidal, a music streaming company.
She has also made millions working with multiple luxury brands including Budweiser, Armani, Gucci, and Dior.
Worth noting about Rihanna is that she has used the largest source of her wealth, Fenty Beauty, to fight for inclusivity and empower the Black community. Fenty Beauty’s products are celebrated by women of color for empowering them to enhance their natural beauty.
If all wealth came with such positive social impact, this world would be heaven-like!
Here’s a breakdown of her wealth:
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