*It is widely known that the wealthiest Black person in America is television talk-show diva Oprah Winfrey. No one else even comes close. Winfrey had reached a net worth of $2.7 billion.
However, culling information from a variety of sources, we conclude that the recession was not kind to Winfrey and she finished 2010 with wealth between $2.4 billion and $2.5 billion.
Despite a disastrous year in golf and a divorce, second place still goes to golfer Tiger Woods. However, Woods was projected to have reached billionaire status this year. It did not happen. We estimate Woods lost $200 million in endorsement money due to his much publicized infidelities and that he settled with his ex-wife for roughly $100 million leaving him with a net worth of somewhere between $650 million and $700 million.
The third richest Black person in America is most probably former basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Johnson’s wealth has come mostly from restaurants, movie theaters and real estate. Johnson did not really have a fantastic year in 2010 but the two of the Blacks who were richer simply had worse years. We place Johnson’s wealth at $500 million.
The number four position goes to another former basketball great turned entrepreneur Michael Jordan. Jordan still pulls in major endorsement money. In addition, he had sufficient bank to be part of the deal which purchased the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA from BET founder Bob Johnson. Jordan has estimated wealth of $475 million.
The fifth richest Black person in America is Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson – the nation’s first Black billionaire. Johnson walked away with a bundle when he sold BET to media giant Viacom. But a substantial portion of that money went to his ex-wife Sheila Johnson. In addition, Johnson’s venture into sports franchises proved a financial mistake. He lost substantially with the Charlotte Bobcats. He is now focusing almost entirely on real estate and the hotel industry. His wealth currently stands at around $450 million.
The African Americans completing the top ten wealthiest list are
#6 – William “Bill” Cosby – $425 million
#7 – Sheila Johnson – ex-wife of BET founder Bob Johnson and owner of the Washington Mystics of the WNBA – $400 million
#8 – R. Donahue Peeples – head of the largest Black-owned real estate development firm in the nation – $350 million
#9 – The legendary Barry Gordy is Black America’s ninth richest person. The 80-year-old sold Motown Records Company in 1988 for $61 million and since became involved in movies and other entertainment ventures building an estimated wealth of $320 million.
#10 – The top ten is rounded out by another real estate giant: Chicago’s Quintin Primo III. The 57-year-old Harvard business school graduate has wealth of $300 million.