Black women are powerful and a force to be reckoned with. With growing amounts of money and influence, they have been able to fund charities that benefit themselves and their communities. While many black women have made their fortunes in corporate America and beyond, others have amassed huge amounts of wealth outside the standard routes. Who is the richest black woman in the world?
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The wealthiest black women in the world are influential in the political, media, business and sports arenas. In an era where inequality is still rampant on all levels, these women are creating their pathways to success while smashing gender barriers along the way.
Richest black women in the world
If you are curious about how some of these women did it, read about the richest black women who are billionaires and millionaires in their own right. The rank is based on their current net worth. They include:
1. Oprah Winfrey - $3.5 billion
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- Born: 29 January 1954
- Age: 68 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, USA
- Occupations: Media executive, TV host, producer, actress, author
Oprah Winfrey is considered one of the richest women in the world. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she has a net worth of $3.5 billion.
Oprah grew up poor in Mississippi but was richly gifted with brains and beauty. In her teenage years, she worked at a local grocery store while still attending school. She was named Miss Black Tennessee after winning the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant at 17.
She received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University after winning an oratory contest but never graduated. Instead, she pursued her career but later completed and graduated in 1987 with a degree in communications.
She then became co-anchor of Nashville's WLAC-TV station and Baltimore's WJZ-TV; however, it didn't take long before she moved on to bigger things as an anchor for Chicago's WLS-TV from 1984 to 1989 before finally getting her show.
2. Isabel dos Santos - $2 billion
- Born: 20 April 1973
- Age: 49 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
- Occupation: Business person, investor
Isabel dos Santos is among the rich black women in the world making impressive business moves. She has a net worth of $2 billion and has had a lot of success investing. Isabel is the daughter of the late former president José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.
She showed interest in the business from a young age, and her father encouraged her to learn more about it. She is currently controlling stakes in companies like Zap Midia Digital.
However, in January 2020, Isabel was charged with money laundry and embezzlement of funds by the Angolan authorities leading to her accounts and assets being frozen. She denied the claim.
3. Rihanna - $1.7 billion
- Born: 20 February 1988
- Age: 34 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Saint Michael, Barbados
- Occupation: Actor, songwriter, model, fashion designer
Her debut album, Music of the Sun, yielded five singles and charted in the top 10 of every country. She currently boasts 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. She is an international pop superstar with a $1.7 billion net worth.
In addition to being one of the most powerful women, she is also an ambassador of Dior. She also launched a new lingerie line with the lingerie brand Savage X Fenty.
4. Ngina Kenyatta - $1.65 billion
- Born: 24 June 1933
- Age: 89 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Kiambu County, Kenya
- Occupation: Entrepreneur
Ngina is a Kenyan entrepreneur whose net worth is $1.65 billion. She is the former First Lady of Kenya, widow of the late president Jomo Kenyatta.
Her son Uhuru Kenyatta became President of Kenya in 2012 following the retirement of Mwai Kibaki. Her investment company has holdings in sugar, tourism, and textile manufacturing.
5. Folorunsho Alakija - $1 billion
- Born: 15 July 1951
- Age: 71 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Ikorodu, Nigeria
- Occupation: Businessperson
Alakija, a Nigerian-born businesswoman, grew up during a time of government turmoil and runaway inflation. She pursued secretarial studies at Pitman's Central College, London.
After completing her education, she became an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises and later the head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.
Her experience and passion for fashion led her to take a chance in the fashion industry in 1993. She started her label Supreme Stitches, which she later named The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion. She has not looked back since then.
She applied for an oil license in 1993 but was turned down. However, she was two years later awarded the license by President Ibrahim Babangida. Since then, she has become one of the wealthiest women in Africa.
Mrs Alakija's net worth is $1 billion, making her Nigeria's first female billionaire. She is a philanthropist who donates millions to charitable causes through her Rose of Sharon Foundation.
6. Hajia Bola Shagaya - $959 million
- Born: 10 October 1959
- Age: 63 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Ilorin, Nigeria
- Occupation: Businessperson
Dr Hajia Bola Shagaya is a Nigerian entrepreneur listed as the richest black woman in the world, with a net worth of $959 million. She is currently the CEO and founder of Bolmus Group International.
Forbes magazine has recognised her and named as one of The 50 Most Powerful Women In Africa. She also studied economics and accountancy at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Armstrong College, California.
Shagaya started her career at the Central Bank of Nigeria before she founded the Bolmus group, which imported and distributed photographic materials.
Later, she became the managing director of Practoil limited company, which manufactures and distributes oil products across Nigeria. Today, Bolmus group is a conglomerate of diverse companies, including an oil firm.
7. Sheila Johnson - $750 million
- Born: 25 January 1949
- Age: 73 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: McKeesport, Pennsylvania, United States
- Occupation: Businessperson, program creator
Sheila C. Johnson is an American businesswoman and philanthropist who has amassed a fortune of $750 million. In addition, she owns stakes in two professional sports teams, one of which was recently granted an expansion NBA franchise in Washington, D.C.
Both are owned by her company Black Entertainment Television (BET). Johnson is famous for co-founding BET with her ex-husband Robert L. Johnson, turning it into America's largest African-American-owned media company.
She also founded Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Inc. She became one of the wealthiest black women in the world when she sold her stake in BET to Viacom for $3 billion - netting over $500 million from that sale alone.
8. Janice Bryant Howroyd - $610 million
- Born: 1 September 1952
- Age: 70 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Tarboro, North Carolina, USA
- Occupation: Entrepreneur
A long-time CEO of a billion-dollar company, Janice Bryant Howroyd, has made the rank among the richest black woman in the world. She has an estimated net worth of $620 million.
As chairman and CEO of ActOne Group, Howroyd is also one of Oprah Winfrey's influential ladies. She was one of the first African-American women to become a self-made millionaire, founding her firm out of her Chicago basement.
The business was eventually renamed ActOne for her hard work and dedication to always believing that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
9. Beyoncé - $500 million
- Born: 4 September 1981
- Age: 41 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Houston, Texas, USA
- Occupation: Songwriter, music producer, businessperson, entrepreneur
Beyoncé Knowles has expanded her business venture over the years and now operates as a top-grossing solo artist. She is a mother of three children and an entertainment mogul through her company Parkwood Entertainment.
Her latest album, Renaissance, was released on 29 July 2022, with 332,000 album-equivalent units and was number one on the Billboard 200 chart. She is set to release two more albums in 2022. Her current net worth is estimated to be $500 million.
10. Serena Williams - $250 million
- Born: 26 September 1981
- Age: 41 years (as of 2022)
- Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan
- Occupation: Businessperson, tennis player, writer
Serena Williams is one of the wealthiest black women in the world. She is one of, if not the most, dominant women's tennis players in history. She has 23 Grand Slam titles and has won more prize money than any other female athlete. Her net worth is an estimated $250 million.
Though Oprah is worth $3.5 billion, she is not at the top of the world's list of the richest women. However, she is the richest black woman in the world, and her net worth has increased by $400 million since 2009.
Legit.ng recently published a list of Nollywood's top 25 richest actors. Nollywood has proven to be a goldmine because most of those who enter it are successful. The industry has produced numerous billionaires and multimillionaires in Nigeria and West Africa.
Nollywood's emerging performers are also doing well because a ten-year veteran of the industry can earn more than a doctor, engineer, or lawyer's monthly pay.