These Are The Richest Black Self-Made Women On This Year’s Forbes List

Forbes magazine cover self-made women issue

It’s no secret that our hustle game is on a trillion right now — black women still continue to rank as the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States as the conversations around wealth building and equal pay have become not so taboo topics for black women. Forbes recently released America’s Richest Self-Made Women list, and we were excited to see six sisters included within the fold! Keep reading to discover who made the cut and why. 

Oprah Winfrey

It’s no surprise that the Queen of Talk and ultimate content creator has been doing it for years as one of the world’s richest self-made women. Oprah’s current net worth has now amassed $2.5 billion, with a good chunk of her coins coming from her 10% ownership and ambassador partnership with Weight Watchers (which is now estimated to be worth more than $425 million). Outside of this investment, Oprah continues to make money from her media company OWN, which her 25.5% stake is worth $75 million, and a recent multi-year content partnership that she made with Apple to create original content. 


If you thought she was just a singer, then you’ve been thinking way too small about our Houston-born diva all this time. Beyond being married to the first hip hop billionaire, Beyonce Knowles Carter has proven that she is a true businesswoman with a net worth of $400 million. Beyonce has gotten clever about diversifying her assets; her recent Netflix deal for the release of her Coachella performance Homecoming was worth a whopping $60 million. Jay-Z and her’s On The Run stadium tours have grossed over $300 million to date. Let’s also not forget Beyonce’s parlays into fashion with her Ivy Park clothing line and recent partnership with Adidas.  

Janice Bryant Howroyd

Her name may not ring a bell like her self-made celebrity counterparts but she is no one to be slept on. Janice is the founder and CEO of ACT-1 group and is one of the first black women in American to run a billion-dollar company. ACT-1 group is an employment solutions company that provides temporary staffing; she currently has 2,600 employees and over 17,000 clients across the world. Her business recently made $2.8 billion in 2017. Howroyd is a true BAUCE that has overcome obstacles to achieve her success. In 1978, Howroyd started the firm with just $1,500, a fax machine, and a $900 loan from her mom.

Serena Williams

In the sports world, Serena is truly not one to be slept on; but in the past couple of years, we have seen Serena making major BAUCE moves after launching Serena Ventures, an investment firm that is hyper-focused on funding businesses run by women and minorities. To date, Serena has invested in 34 startups and has a portfolio of companies worth nearly $10 million. Serena has been a quiet and humble name in the investment game; some people don’t know that she has a stake in the Miami Dolphins and has signed several endorsements with top brands such as Pepsi, Delta Air Lines, and Gatorade to name a few. This year, she became one of the first female athletes to make the Forbes Self-Made women list

Sheila Johnson

This media mogul is behind one of the biggest names in black American history: Black Entertainment Television (BET). She and her former husband Robert Johnson co-founded the network and then sold it to Viacom for nearly $3 billion back in 2000. Since that sale, Johnson launched her luxury hotel company, Salamander Resort & Spa, in 2005 and currently owns two properties and manages five others across the Southeast of the United States. Her hotel company earned $210 million in revenue in 2017. Johnson’s current net worth is around $820 million. 


If there’s one entertainer who refuses to play small you know it’s Rihanna – and homegirl is good at it. Rihanna is officially one of the wealthiest female musicians to date with a net worth of $600 million; a large stake of that wealth goes to her wildly successful cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, which generated almost $570 million last year after only 15 months of operation. Rihanna, who has had numerous deals over the years with fashion brands such as River Island and Puma, recently announced that she is starting a luxury fashion house in conjunction with LVMH, making her one of the first black women to do so. Lastly, her Savage X Fenty lingerie line has also taken her to the forefront as not only a businesswoman but a smart brand builder as well. 

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BAUCE is a lifestyle site for self-made women. We create and curate content that helps ambitious women from multicultural backgrounds build their empires, achieve financial freedom, and look good while doing it. We’re not just a publication. Being a BAUCE is a lifestyle.


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