Black women have become a powerful force across a diverse field of occupations and businesses. They have created massive amounts of wealth and influence in those areas that offer significant benefits to charities and communities that are meaningful to these successful and richest black women in the World.
Many of these rich black women have accumulated great fortunes by pushing the limits and breaking glass ceilings along the way for those who have similar career aspirations. However, others have found their way to great wealth outside the more traditional business routes.
Are you curious as to who is the richest black woman in the World?
The list below ranks the 15 richest black women in the World based on their current net worth.
How We Compiled the List?
To compile our list of the 15 richest black women in the World, we began by determining the number of women billionaires around the globe – which, according to Forbes, totals 337 in 2023. This represents an addition of 10 women to the list from the previous year. Women now make up 13% of the current billionaire population.
Forbes and its statistical ranking partners (i.e., Fact Set Research Systems) track the net worth of individuals based on the value –
- Of public holdings in stock markets around the World – updated every five minutes, when applicable.
- Of public companies - updated daily. These updates are important because wealth rankings vary over time due to variations/fluctuations in asset values, stock market holdings, and economic conditions.
However, our list of the richest black women is a snapshot in time.
To narrow down and refine our search to include the 15 richest black women in the world, we reviewed various online sources and sites designed to track wealth and other relevant data -
At a time when inequality still impacts women on all levels, the fifteen women noted below have found a pathway to success despite gender barriers.
Here are the 15 Richest Black Women in The World
The wealthiest black women in the World can be found in the media, business, political, and sports arenas.
15. Jada Pinkett Smith
- Estimated Net Worth: According to various sources, Jada Pinkett Smith's net worth is $50 million (2023).
- Born: September 18, 1971.
- Age: 52 (2023).
- Industry: actress, singer, producer – owns 100% Women Productions, businesswoman, talk show host.
- Accomplishments: Names among the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. Was a member of the metal band Wicked Wisdom.
Jada Koren Pinkett Smith, who was born in Baltimore, is an American talk show host and actress who was married to actor Will Smith for nearly two decades. Her catalog of films is lengthy and diverse – including comedy, cameo roles, and more.
14. Tyra Banks
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Cosmopolitan, Banks has a net worth of $90 million (2023).
- Born: December 4, 1973.
- Age: 49 (2023)
- Industry: model, TV personality, actress, writer, producer.
- Accomplishments: First African-American woman to be featured on GQ's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's Cover.
Tyra Banks is an American model who began her professional career at age 15 and ranks among the globe's top-earning models. Many consider Tyra an entertainment mogul, having successfully negotiated a career as an actor and model in her teens, as a publisher of a NY Times Bestseller for young adults entitled – Modelland, and running her production company – Bankable Productions.
13. Michelle Obama
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Michele, along with Barack, has an estimated net worth of $110 million (2023)
- Born: January 17, 1964.
- Age: 59 (2023).
- Industry: Business executive, attorney, First Lady of the United States.
- Accomplishments: Vice President of the University of Chicago Medical Center's Community & External Affairs.
Michel LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an attorney who was also the First Lady of the United States from 2009 until 2017. She graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She married Barack Obama in 1992 – 15 years before he would become president, but would hold several public sector positions for the city of Chicago. Obama also served as a board member of TreeHouse Foods.
12. Shonda Lynda Rhimes
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Rhime's net worth is estimated to be $250 million. (2023)
- Born: January 13, 1970.
- Age: 53 (2023).
- Industry: Writer, Television Producer, Owner/Founder-Shondaland.
- Accomplishments: Generated more than $2 billion in revenue (for Disney) with TV shows like Scandaland & Grey's Anatomy.
Shonda Rhimes is an American writer and TV producer who makes her debut as one of the richest black women in the world. Shonda's unprecedented move – from TV to Netflix set up her $100 million Netflix deal for the shows Bridgerton, Inventing Anna, and Queen Charlotte. Shonda recently bought a home in beautiful Westport, CT – from the founders of the Melissa & Doug Toy Company.
11. Serena Williams
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Serena Williams' net worth is approximately $260 million (2023).
- Born: September 26, 1981.
- Age: 42 (2023).
- Industry: Businessperson, tennis player, writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
- Accomplishments: Was ranked as WTA's No. 1 Singles for 319 weeks – of which there was a record of 186 consecutive weeks. Only player to
Serena Jameka William, along with her sister Venus, were among the most dominant and successful women's professional tennis players for the past two decades. She is married to Alexis Ohanian – co-founder of Reddit. She is one of the wealthiest black women athletes in the world, having been considered among the most dominant women tennis players ever. Serena Williams holds 23 Grand Slam titles and has garnered more prize money than any other female athlete. Williams is the only player in history to have completed a career Golden Slam as a singles and doubles player. In 2022, Serena began transitioning her career from tennis toward other ventures of interest.
10. Dr. Iman Abuzeid
- Estimated Net Worth: (2023) According to Forbes, Iman Abuzeid's net worth is estimated at $350 million (2023).
- Born: N/A
- Age – 38 (2023)
- Industry: medical, healthcare, IT.
- Accomplishments: Incredible Health is a nursing employment app that is trusted by more than 350 hospitals and health organizations across 14 states.
Dr. Iman Abuzeid is an American-Sudanese doctor and entrepreneur – with a Wharton MBA who amassed her wealth as the CEO and founder of a digital nursing employment platform – known as Incredible Health. She was born in Saudi Arabia to parents of Sudanese descent. Her digital platform, Incredible Health, met an overwhelming healthcare shortage of nurses during the recent COVID pandemic and is now the fastest-growing career platform for healthcare workers looking for permanent job placements. Incredible Health raised 80 million dollars from private investors last year, which creates a valuation of $ 1.65 billion.
9. Emma Grede
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Emma Grede's net worth is approximately $410 million (2023).
- Born: September 23, 1982
- Age: 41 (2023)
- Industry: Entrepreneur, businesswoman, and fashion designer.
- Accomplishments: Co-Founder/CEO of Good American – a size-inclusive/body-positivity line of clothing that Emma founded with Khloe Kardashian. She was a co-recipient of the CFDA's Innovation Award, along with her husband, Jens Grede and Kardashian.
As a British entrepreneur, Emma Grede's work has made significant contributions to the fashion realm. She studied at the London College of Fashion and became a successful British businesswoman and fashion designer. Grede is also a founding partner and product officer of Skims – a shapewear brand by Kim Kardashian.
- Estimated Net Worth: According to a recent Forbes list, Beyonce's net worth tops $500 million, an increase of $90 million from 2022.
- Born: September 4, 1981.
- Age: 42 (2023).
- Industry: Singer, songwriter, music producer, businessperson, entrepreneur, philanthropist
- Accomplishments: Has been honored as one of Rolling Stone's Greatest Singers of All Time. Has won 32 Grammy.
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American top-selling solo artist, businesswoman, mother of three, and boundary-pushing songwriter and cultural icon. Beyonce's star rose to fame in the 90s when she was a member of one of the top-selling girl groups of all time – Destiny's Child. Beyonce has the most awards in MTV, BET, NAACP Image, and Soul Train Awards. Was the voice of Nala for The Lion King's remake in 2019.
7. Janice Bryant Howroyd
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Janice Bryant Howroyd's net worth is $600 million. (2023)
- Born: September 1, 1952.
- Age: 71 (2023).
- Industry: Entrepreneur, author, businesswoman.
- Accomplishments: The first African-American woman to create and build a company that had a value that exceeded $1 billion. An ambassador for the US Department of Labor's Workforce Initiative and Harvard Women's Leadership Board, to name a few.
As CEO/chairman of ActOne Group, Janice Bryant Howroyd was the first African-American woman to become a self-made millionaire and is ranked among the richest black women in the world.. She began what would become ActOne – an employment service company with revenue that exceeded $1 billion in 2022 - with about a thousand bucks in the basement of her Chicago apartment after working as a temporary secretary for Billboard Magazine in the mid-1970s. ActOne operates in 33 countries with more than 2,500 employees.
In 2016, President Obama appointed her to the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
6. Haijia Bola Shagaya
- Estimated Net Worth: According to African Leadership Magazine, Shagaya's net worth exceeds $650 million (2023).
- Born: October 10, 1959.
- Age: 64 (2023).
- Industry: Business woman, entrepreneur.
- Accomplishments: Forbes magazine has recognized her and named her one of The 50 Most Powerful Women In Africa. Has received the MON as a Member of the Order of the Niger.
Dr. Hajia Bola Shagaya is a Nigerian businesswoman and the CEO/Founder of Bomus Group International. She began her work at the Central Bank of Nigeria before she founded the successful Bolmus group by importing the Konica Brand of photographic materials to marketplaces in Nigeria and West Africa. Shagaya is the founder and CEO of this large conglomerate that has multiple and diverse holdings in the areas of real estate, photography, banking, and oil/gas under the licensing of Practoil Limited.
5. Sheila C. Johnson
- Estimated Net Worth: According to Forbes, Johnson's net worth is $840 million (2023).
- Born: January 25, 1949.
- Age: 74 (2023).
- Industry: Businessperson, philanthropist, program creator, documentary producer, real estate investor, WBNA Owner/Manager/President.
- Accomplishments: First Billionaire American Woman and first to have a financial stake in three professional sports teams, CEO of Salamander Hotels/Resorts.
Sheila Crump Johnson is an American businessperson who co-founded the largest American-owned black media company – BET – Black Entertainment Network. She sold BET Network to Viacom for $3 billion. Johnson switched professional hats and founded Salamander Hospitality in 2005, which now owns property throughout the World. Sheila Johnson is an active philanthropist who sits on various boards, including VH1's Save the Music Foundation, the University of Virginia, and more.
4. Folorunso Alakija
- Estimated Net Worth: According to the BBC, Folorunso Alakija's net worth is $1 billion (2023).
- Born: July 15, 1951.
- Age: 72 (2023).
- Industry: Business woman, philanthropist.
- Accomplishments: Educated in the United Kingdom after completing high school in Nigeria. First woman billionaire in Nigeria. Honored as one of the World's most powerful women by Forbes.
Alakija is a Nigerian-born businesswoman who manages The Rose of Sharon Group (which helps widows and orphans) and serves as the Executive Vice chairman of Famfa Oil LTD. Folorunso Alakija began her professional career in 1974, working as a secretary for a bank in Lagos, Nigeria. After banking, she studied fashion design in London and opened Supreme Stitches (a.k.a. the House of Fashion). In 1993, she applied for a license for Famfa Ltd. to prospect oil off Nigeria's shore in Agbami Field. This venture became a partnership with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Texaco – Deep Water Petroleum Limited.
3. Ngina Kenyatta
- Estimated Net Worth: According to African Leadership Magazine, Ngina Kenyatta's net worth is approximately $1 billion (2023).
- Born: June 24, 1933.
- Age: 90 (2023).
- Industry: Entrepreneur and businesswoman.
- Accomplishments: A patron of the Kenyan Guilding – a worldwide girl's movement.
Ngina Kenyatta, often known as Mama Ngina, is among the richest people in Kenya. Ngina is a Kenyan entrepreneur, former First Lady of Kenya, the widow of the late President Jomo Kenyatta, and currently the mother of the Kenyan president who served from 2013 to 2022. She was the fourth wife of the Joma Kenyatta, who became Kenya's president in 1964. Kenyatta's holdings include hotels, banks, ranches, plantations, dairy farms, and more, although the family name has been scarred by an Ivory Scandal during the 1970s,
- Estimated Net Worth: According to the Wall Street Journal, Rihanna's net worth is estimated to be $1.4 billion (2023).
- Born: February 20, 1988.
- Age: 35 (2023).
- Industry: Actor, songwriter, businesswoman, model, philanthropist, fashion designer.
- Accomplishments: Her first album – Music of the Sun, generated five singles that hit the top 10 charts in every country. Her 2012 Superbowl half-time performance has the largest viewership in the history of TV.
Robin Rihanna Fenty was born in Barbados but raised on the island of Jamaica. She is an international pop star who has also begun a career in fashion design. She is also a beloved artist with 20 million listeners on Spotify each month and one of the most influential artists of the 21st century. Rihanna's music has sold more than 250 million records globally – with 14 number-one hit singles, making her the 2nd-best female music artist ever. In addition, Rihanna's talents have been recognized by winning 9 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 13 American Music Awards, among others. She has had major roles in several box office movies and is Barbados' Ambassador of Education, Tourism and Investment.
Rihanna has founded many fashion, lingerie, and cosmetic brands as well as nonprofits to fund meaningful causes.
1. Oprah Winfrey
- Estimated Net Worth: According to a recent Forbes list, Oprah Winfrey's net worth tops $2.5 billion. (2023)
- Born: January 29, 1954.
- Age: 69 (2023)
- Industry: Media executive, TV host, producer, publisher, actress, author.
- Accomplishments: Known as the Queen of All Media. Was once the only black billionaire and often ranked among the World's most influential women.
Oprah Gail Winfrey needs no introduction – having been successful at most of the business ventures she has tried. She was born to an impoverished mother in rural Mississippi and raised in Milwaukee. Oprah was named Miss Black Tennessee when she was 17. Oprah attended (on a full scholarship) but never graduated from Tennessee State University, opting to pursue her career at that time instead. It is noted that Oprah completed her communications degree in 1987. In addition to an incredibly sizable real estate portfolio – estimated to exceed $120 million, Oprah's assets include a stake in OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network, Discover, Warner Bros, and more.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson