Kanye West not richest Black man in US ― Forbes


Forbes magazine has debunked reports that Kanye West is now the richest Black man in America’s history after his businesses were valued at $6.6bn.

On Wednesday, multiple outlets reported that Kanye West had become the richest Black person in America, worth as much as $6.6bn.

The news comes after Bloomberg reported that his sneaker brand, Yeezy ― as well as Yeezy Gap, which has yet to sell one stitch of clothing — have a combined value of as much as $4.7bn while Kanye West had an additional $1.7bn in assets.

Forbes stated that Vista Equity’s Robert F. Smith remained the richest Black person in the US, while Aliko Dangote is the richest Black person in the world.

Forbes wrote, “It’s not true, based on our calculations. Forbes estimates he is worth less than a third of that, or $1.8bn. That is a big jump from last May when Forbes first pegged his net worth to be $1.3bn, but nowhere near as much as the purported $6.6bn.

“Vista Equity’s Robert F. Smith remains the richest Black person in the US, worth an estimated $6bn, while Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, worth $11.8bn, is the richest Black person in the world.”

Forbes stated that the sky-high estimate was the latest of West’s attempts to inflate his net worth, adding that in the past Kanye West said that Forbes was “purposely snubbing me.”

The magazine noted that the Bloomberg story cited a UBS report on his businesses — the same document Forbes saw earlier this month.

Forbes stated, “The bank made a number of assumptions based on projected future earnings, particularly for Yeezy Gap, which hasn’t even launched yet. Bank documents like this are well-known for painting best-possible-scenario future valuations.”

The magazine further noted that the collaboration between Kanye West and GAP was yet to yield any profit as earlier speculated.

Forbes said, “Yeezy Gap has brought in no revenue, let alone any profits. Who knows if the line will be popular? Maybe another hip-hop star will create the next trendy sneaker in a year or two, and Yeezys will be old news. The same thinking goes for Yeezy Supply, West’s e-commerce platform. He has high hopes to turn it into a fashion destination—as of now, it just shills his shoes.”

Forbes admitted that the Yeezy sneakers were ‘selling crazy well’ in the market and emphasised that it was not being biased towards the rap mogul, but treated him as they would do to any other wealth personality.

“Forbes is treating West the same way we do everyone else with similar royalty-based businesses; we take the most recent year’s licensing income and apply a multiple to it to account for the fact that this is an ongoing revenue stream. This is exactly how we value Donald Trump’s licensing businesses and Jay-Z’s music catalogue,” Forbes stressed.

It further gave an accurate break down of West’s fortune, stating that his Yeezy shoe line, which is the crown jewel of his fortune, rakes in $1.5bn.

His cash and other assets are worth about $160m. Thanks to the millions he has made from Yeezy and his music, West has accumulated a nice-size pile of cash, as well as homes and toys. He owns more than $100m in real estate.

According to a balance sheet publicised by his team, Kanye West has $9.3m worth of artwork, $7.6m worth of jewellery, $5m worth of vehicles, $3.4m worth of furniture and $1m worth of livestock. Along the way, he has also racked up a significant amount of debt: $56m.

Furthermore, the music mogul’s music catalogue is worth $90m. While he may make most of his money as a fashion mogul, West started out as one of the world’s most popular rappers, and his catalogue of songs still brings in millions in royalties each year. Just like with Yeezy, he could cash out on that royalty stream, as musicians from Shakira to Bob Dylan have in the last year.

West collaboration with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, Skims, is worth $64m. They may have ended their marital relationship, but they maintain certain business ties.

West has a small stake in his ex’s shapewear and loungewear company, Skims, which has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Forbes stated that the Yeezy x Gap collaboration is worth $0, while West’s team insists the Yeezy x Gap deal is worth about $1.5bn and the Bloomberg story says it could be worth as much as $970m.