For many people, Forbes is the media authority on calculating celebrities’ and businesspeople’s net worth. Because of that status, the publication quickly changing its coverage of Kanye West’s finances is an interesting development.
Forbes was one of the many outlets that ran a story about West being “the richest Black man in America” because his net worth supposedly climbed to over $6 billion. However, that article by Fashion & Beauty contributor Lela London is no longer active on the Forbes website.
A few hours after the London piece was published, Hollywood & Entertainment staff writer Madeline Berg ran a new Forbes article titled “No, Kanye West Is Not The Richest Black Person In America—Here’s Why.” The writer claimed West’s supposed $6.6 billion fortune is based on “magical thinking.”
It’s not true, based on our calculations. Forbes estimates he’s worth less than a third of that, or $1.8 billion. That’s a big jump from last May when Forbes first pegged his net worth to be $1.3 billion, but nowhere near as much as the purported $6.6 billion. Vista Equity’s Robert F. Smith remains the richest Black person in the U.S., worth an estimated $6 billion, while Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, worth $11.8 billion, is the richest Black person in the world. The sky-high estimate is the latest of West’s attempts to inflate his net worth—in the past he’s said that Forbes was “purposely snubbing me.”
The article goes on to breakdown West’s estimated net worth: Yeezy brand ($1.5 billion), cash and other assets ($160 million), music catalog ($90 million), Skims investment ($64 million). Berg then argued that West’s Yeezy x Gap deal should not be valued at $970 million to $1.5 billion until the line actually starts selling products.
There has been a long love-hate relationship between Kanye West and Forbes. The business magazine repeatedly recognized the Jesus Is King album creator as one of the highest-paid Hip Hop stars on a yearly basis and even featured West on an August 2019 cover.
However, Forbes is quick to push back against reports about West’s net worth that seem to emanate from his own camp. For example, West insisted in 2020 that he was worth around $3 billion. Forbes Media & Entertainment Senior Editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg appraised West’s worth at $1.3 billion at the time.