Not many African-Americans are in the billionaire’s club when it comes to business and money. In fact, most musicians, footballers and sports personalities known for showing off on social media are many miles away from the club.
The real money bags rarely show off and are silently yet, very hardworking business executives who live modest lifestyle.
Today, we profile a humble but wealthy list of four African-Americans who are the richest in the world and their net worth.
We intentionally omitted two other black billionaires – Lee-Chin, a Canadian of Jamaican origin worth $1.9 billion because of his 65% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica and Mohammed Ibrahim owner of Celtel, worth $1.1 billion, who is British with Sudanese roots for obvious reasons – they are not Americans.
For a conclusive list of African billionaires, please See Here.
1). Robert F. Smith – $5 billion
Robert F. Smith, a business-tech executive who made his money from private equity is topping the list of African-American billionaires in the world. The American is worth a staggering $5 billion and is the richest African-American alive, according to Forbes.
Smith made his money while working as a Goldman Sachs executive, retired and founded his own private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000 that focuses exclusively on investing in software companies.
He has a chemical engineering degree from Cornell University in 1985.
According to forbes, the firm has more than $46 billion in assets and is one of the best-performing private equity firms, posting annualized returns of 22% since inception. Apart from being an expert businessman, Smith is also an outstanding philanthropist. In 2016, he made serious waves after becoming the second-biggest private donor to give $20 million gift to the African American museum.
In 2019, Smith pledged an estimated $40 million to pay off the student loan debt of every Class of 2019 Morehouse College graduate according to Yahoo.
Forbes named him as one of the 100 greatest living business minds of 2017. Born in Denver, Colorado, U.S., Smith is 56 years.
He is currently married to Hope Dworaczyk after divorcing his first wife of 22 years, Suzanne McFayden Smith.
Smith owns a home in Malibu, California that he bought for $19.5 million from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid Foster, and a home in New York City he bought for $59 million.
2). David Steward – $3 billion
The second richest African-American is David Steward worth $3 billion. Steward is a tech guru and the co-founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, an $11.2 billion (sales) IT provider, whose customers include Citi, Verizon and the federal government. He has a B.S. degree in business from Central Missouri State University. He is known to be an outstanding sales man.
His company, World Wide Technology founded in 1990 is a systems integrator company concentrating its focus on the implementation of enterprise wide, conversion services, and telecommunication networks. As of 2018, his company’s revenue is estimated to be greater than $11 billion.
3). Oprah Winfrey – $2.5 billion
Oprah needs no introduction! She once ruled the world as the richest African-American for years but has now dropped to number three in the list of richest African-Americans released by forbes in 2019.
However, she is still the richest African-American woman in the world thanks largely to the 25 years of her profitable daytime TV show and earnings from her Harpo production company.
According to Forbes, Oprah is still making money from her cable channel, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) due to favorable ratings as a result of securing exclusive TV interviews with headline-grabbers like disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, Beyonce and gay NBA player Jason Collins. One of America’s most generous philanthropists, Oprah continues to give to education causes and has spent about $100 million on the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
She is 65. The television personality’s love life is one very interesting. Oprah dated many men she had fallen deeply in love with in the course of her career and in some cases literally begged them not to leave her. She also dated a married man who was unwilling to leave his wife.
George Mair in his book: Oprah Winfrey: The Real Story told the story well. In the book, Oprah would later recall about her love life: “I’d had a relationship with a man for four years. I wasn’t living with him. I’d never lived with anyone—and I thought I was worthless without him. The more he rejected me, the more I wanted him. I felt depleted, powerless. At the end, I was down on the floor on my knees groveling and pleading with him”. W
Oprah became so depressed that on September 8, 1981, she wrote a suicide note to best friend Gayle King instructing King to water her plants. “That suicide note had been much overplayed” Winfrey told Ms. magazine. “I couldn’t kill myself. I would be afraid the minute I did it, something really good would happen and I’d miss it.”
She even smoked crack cocaine during her trying periods.
Yet, in all these, she found the will to succeed and overcome her demons. Winfrey has remained unmarried though she has been with her current boyfriend Stedman Graham since 1986.
She was also named in the list of 100 most influential people of the 20th Century and one of the most influential people from 2004 to 2011 by TIME, the only person to have appeared on the list more than 10 times.
4). Michael Jordan – $1.9 billion
Undisputably one of the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan has amassed wealth from the sports he loves most. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards winning numerous championship titles and individual honours.
His individual records via Wikipedia states: NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’ list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.
The now ex-basketball player is worth $1.9 billion according to forbes. He makes his money by owning the majority shareholder of Charlotte Bobcats and enjoys lucrative deals with the likes of Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck.
His biggest money is made from sales from his Brand Jordan, a $1 billion (sales) sportswear partnership with Nike, according to forbes.