Rapper fashion designer Kanye West is now the richest African American in history, according to a Bloomberg News estimate that puts his net worth at well over $ 6 billion.
That figure includes West’s Yeezy footwear and apparel deal with Adidas and Gap, which investment bank UBS valued at $ 3.2 billion to $ 4.7 billion. Bloomberg also estimated that West has $ 122 million in cash or shares, along with a music catalog of $ 110 million and $ 1.7 billion in other investments. Sales of Yeezy’s Adidas sneakers grew 31% during the coronavirus pandemic to annual revenue of nearly $ 1.7 billion last year, bringing West $ 191 million in royalties, Bloomberg said, citing UBS.
West’s status as a billionaire is a far cry from where the Chicago-born college dropout stood five years ago. West, 43, told BET News he was $ 53 million in debt in 2016. About $ 16 million of that came from trying to get Yeezy up and running, West said.
His fortune finally changed after the launch of Yeezy. Forbes reported that West negotiated an 11% royalty on its Adidas Yeezy shoes. It eventually generated $ 150 million in revenue during Yeezy’s first 12 months of existence, according to Forbes. West signed a 10-year contract with Gap for Yeezy clothing and shoes.
As Yeezy continued to gain traction, its success caught the attention of West’s then-wife, Kim Kardashian. Kardashian tweeted about how proud she was that West changed his fortune. Forbes declared West a billionaire last April, with a net worth of $ 1.3 billion.
West joins a small crowd of black American billionaires, a list that includes filmmaker Tyler Perry, rapper-turned-businessman Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter), Charlotte Hornets owner and basketball legend Michael Jordan and Oprah. Winfrey.
In its latest estimates, Forbes put Winfrey’s net worth at $ 2.5 billion. Former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Smith has a net worth of $ 5.2 billion and World Wide Technology founder David Steward is worth an estimated $ 3.7 billion, Forbes said.