You may have seen a lot of headlines yesterday proclaiming that Kanye West now has a net worth of roughly $6.6 billion, making him the wealthiest Black person in America. But is that actually the case?
It depends on who you ask. It all started on Wednesday when Bloomberg reported that Yeezy, West’s sneaker and apparel business that includes his new yet-to-launch Yeezy Gap venture, is valued at $4.7 billion. The publication added another $1.7 billion in assets, including money from his music and his stake in Kim Kardashian’s Skims underwear label, to that figure and eventually ended up on the $6.6 billion number.
Naturally, other media outlets ran with it, regurgitating the number on their own articles declaring West to be the richest Black person in America. But yesterday, Forbes stepped in to announce that “No, Kanye West Is Not The Richest Black Person In America.”
Forbes calculated West’s net worth to be somewhere closer to $1.8 billion — still an obscene amount of money, but less than a third of the $6.6 billion estimate. Why the discrepancy?
“The Bloomberg story cites a UBS report on his businesses — the same document Forbes saw earlier this month,” the publication explained. “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.”
“Forbes’ much more grounded number is based on that old-fashioned idea of current revenues — not theoretical future expectations,” Forbes clarified. “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.”
So there you have it! It turns out the wealthiest Black person in America is still Vista Equity’s Robert F. Smith (worth an estimated $6 billion), the richest Black person in the world is Aliko Dangote of Nigeria (worth $11.8 billion), and we should all remember to take a moment and actually read and interpret what’s being presented to us before taking it as fact.
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