Turns Out, Kanye Is Not the Richest Black Man in America [Corrected]

Kanye West speaks on stage at the “Kanye West and Steven Smith in Conversation with Mark Wilson” on November 07, 2019.
Kanye West speaks on stage at the “Kanye West and Steven Smith in Conversation with Mark Wilson” on November 07, 2019.
Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company (Getty Images)

Correction: 3/18/2021, 12:15 p.m. ET:

*record scratch* Laaaaaa, la, la, laaaa wait ‘til we (and a bunch of other media) get our wealth valuations wrong. Kanye West is actually not the richest Black man in the U.S. On Thursday morning, a whole Kanye-kerfuffle erupted including a now-retracted Forbes article stating that the rapper-entrepreneur-former-presidential-candidate had become the wealthiest Black man in America.


In reality, his real-time net worth according to Forbes is $1.3 billion, as of March 18, 2021. So, his money may be right that he’s still a billionaire, but not a super-duper billionaire as previously reported. To clarify, Bloomberg reported that Kanye’s Gap-Yeezy deal is worth $6 billion, but he’s not.

More info from Forbes:

New information about Kanye West’s deal with Adidas for sneaker brand Yeezy convinced Forbes to call the entrepreneur and musician a billionaire.

He gets an annual royalty from Adidas, which makes Yeezy shoes. The Yeezy brand pulled in an estimated $1.3 billion in sales in 2019.

Separately, West also has a Yeezy apparel line. He owns his brands outright.

West’s Sunday Service, an invitation-only confab mostly in Southern California, has reportedly drawn the likes of Katy Perry and Dave Chappelle.

In June 2020, retailer Gap and Kanye West announced they will start selling a line of West’s Yeezy clothing designed for Gap.

So disregard most of the below, except for maybe keeping your eye on the financial dealings of his and Kim’s divorce if you’re into that sort of thing. Welp! We’re sure it was fun for Kanye and his fans while it lasted...

Kanye West laugh-to-blank-face.


Remember when Kanye West first burst into the mainstream scene and referred to himself as “Kanye Cheddar?” Well, now he has a lot of damn cheese.


According to People, the 43-year-old rapper-businessman (and recent Grammy winner in the gospel realm) is now worth $6.6 billion. Various reports say that this new wealth valuation makes him the richest Black man in the United States. More than half of that wealth is thanks to his Yeezy brand (i.e. his sneaker and apparel business with Adidas AG and Gap Inc.) which, according to Bloomberg, is valued at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG. ‘Ye has full ownership and creative control of Yeezy, which certainly helps the boost in his net worth. The new collaboration with Gap, which hits stores this summer, could possibly generate $970 million of that total.

In a September 2020 article, Business Insider noted that there are 614 billionaires in America with only seven of them being Black. Topping that list at the time was investor and Vista Equity Partners founder Robert F. Smith, who had a reported net worth of $5.2 billion. At the time, Kanye ranked at No. 5 on the list, when he was worth $1.3 billion as Forbes reported in April 2020.


In terms of ‘Ye’s new wealth designation, People further reports:

The “Famous” rapper also has $122 million in cash and stock and $110 million from his music catalog, alongside $1.7 billion in other assets, including estranged wife Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS business.


The question on most minds is whether a huge chunk of that wealth will go toward Kim as the recently split couple will be undergoing divorce proceedings after Kim filed for divorce in February of this year. According to The Guardian, the two are “seeking joint legal and physical custody of their four children, daughters North, seven years old, and Chicago, two, and sons Saint, five and Psalm, 19 months.”


Like any high-profile divorce, money is absolutely a factor and whatever the settlement the court agrees upon will certainly be up for much discussion, though it has been reported that the two have a prenuptial agreement so that would avoid any major financial fights should neither of them contest it. Shout-out to “Gold Digger,” I guess! Regardless of what happens, it looks like the two will be business partners in some fashion with his SKIMS investment.

Speaking of giving up some dough, there is also the fact that crew members (including performers, hairstylists and makeup artists) have an ongoing class action suit worth $30 million against Kanye, claiming mistreatment and unpaid wages.


Though Kanye’s most recent tweet at the time of this blog post is still the wistful continued political campaign for president in 2024, hopefully, his new billions will be enough to buy a damn clue and he decides to scrap those pipe dreams to focus on himself and his children.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


Dustin J. Seibert

Re: the connected tweet: Pretty sure Kanye didn’t leave Kim, but the inverse.