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6 Black Women Make the Forbes' List of Richest Self-Made Women in America

Mary Scott
Jun 05, 2019
10:27 A.M.
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Forbes has released its 2019 list of the richest self-made women in America and six phenomenal black queens, including Rihanna and Serena Williams, made the cut.

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According to Forbes, this year’s list is the fifth in its annual series and had to be expanded to 80 because “women are creating more new businesses and amassing fortunes than ever before.”

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Combined, these women have a net worth of $81.3 billion and their businesses cut across industries including science and technology, fashion, entertainment, cosmetics, etc. The outlet also revealed that the minimum net worth required to feature on the list is $225 million

The following black women, whom we’re incredibly proud of, made the cut:

OPRAH WINFREY

Oprah Winfrey at the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California on Feb. 22, 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

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At No. 10 on the list, Winfrey’s net worth, according to Forbes, is $2.6 billion. Black Enterprise further notes that the 65-year-old is one of just five black billionaires in America and owes a chunk of her wealth to a partnership with Weight Watchers, now known as WW.

In 2015, Winfrey reportedly bought a 10% stake in the healthy living company and became an ambassador; by June of 2018, that stake was estimated at $427 million.

Winfrey’s wealth also comes from numerous media projects, including her cable channel “OWN,” magazines, movies, and books.

RIHANNA

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Rihanna at the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala in New York City on May 7, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

The Barbadian singer/entrepreneur makes her debut at No. 37 on the list with a net worth of $600 million that makes her the richest female musician, per Forbes.

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Rihanna’s wealth can be traced to her co-owner status in the “Fenty Beauty” line. The “Diamonds” singer launched her inclusive makeup range in 2017 and racked up $100 million in sales within weeks, according to BE.

Rihanna, 31, followed this with her “Savage X Fenty” lingerie line unveiled last year at the New York Fashion Week and just last month, she launched a fashion house.

SHEILA JOHNSON

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Coming in at No. 31 on the list, Johnson co-founded BET with her then-husband before selling it to Viacom for about $3 billion in 2000, reports Forbes.

After her divorce, the 70-year-old established luxury hotel company Salamander Resort & Spa in 2005, recording $210 million in revenue in 2017.

Today, Johnson’s net worth is estimated by Forbes at $820 million.

BEYONCÉ

Beyonce at the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala in New York City on May 4, 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

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Forbes estimates the 37-year-old pop superstar’s net worth at $400 million. According to Black Enterprise, Beyoncé’s wealth comes from music sales, tours, movie deals, as well as her activewear line, Ivy Park for which she recently announced a partnership with Adidas.

The singer comes in at No. 51 on the list.

JANICE BRYANT HOWROYD

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At No. 53 on the list, Howroyd’s fortune comes from her company, ActOne, which provides workforce solutions such as temporary staffing, reports Forbes.

When she would open the business in Los Angeles in 1978, it was with $1,500 including a $900 loan from her mother, a fax machine and a phone.

Howroyd’s net worth is estimated at $390 million

SERENA WILLIAMS

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The tennis champion makes her debut on the list at No. 80 with a net worth of $225 million. Serena’s presence on the list is mainly due to the launch of Serena Ventures, a company which, according to Forbes, is “devoted to investing in companies led by women and people of color, with a focus on brands that promote individual empowerment, creativity, and opportunity.”

While she recently launched a

clothing line

, Serena and her sister, Venus, are also minority owners of the Miami Dolphins, per the outlet.

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