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Do better, Hollywood. The highest-paid Black women in Forbes’ list of the 100 richest celebrities of 2019 illustrate how Black women continue to be systematically underpaid across all industries. Forbes released its annual list of the world’s 100 highest-paid celebrities on Thursday, June 4. Of the 100 celebrities included, only four of them were Black women.
The list spanned celebrities from TV and film to sports and music. Kylie Jenner, who has had some controversy over her billionaire status, still came in at number-one with a $590 million net worth. After Kylie was her brother-in-law, Kanye West who made $170 million in the past year. As a whole, women represented only 20 of the 100 celebrities represented in that list. The number of Black women was drastically lower.
According to a 2016 report by the Pew Research Center, Black women make only 65 cents to every dollar a white man makes. Black women also make 17 cents less than white women, which make them the second to lowest paid group next to Latinx women, who make 58 cents to a white man’s dollar, according to the Pew Research Center.
Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities of 2019 shows how Hollywood isn’t immune to the pay gap and needs to do better. With marches across the world in protest of police brutality and systematic racial violence and discrimination, the responsibility lies on the entertainment industry to close the pay gap. Because four is pitiful, and we hope to see a higher number next year.
2019 Earnings: $46 million
Rihanna is the highest paid Black women on Forbes’ list, and 60th highest paid celebrity overall. (She’s tied with David Copperfield.) Forbes reports that Rihanna made $46 million in 2019 from her businesses Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty. Despite her successful music career, Forbes reported that Rih made the “bulk” of her income in 2019 from her makeup brand, Fenty Beauty, which she co-owns with LVMH.
2019 Earnings: $37.4 million
Osaka ranked 90th in Forbes’ list of the 100 richest celebrities of 2019. Per the magazine, she made $37.4 million in 2019 and is the highest-paid female athlete of last year, unseating the previous record holder, Serena Williams, who held the title for the past four years. Osaka, who is half-Japanese and half-Haitian American, earned most of her money—$30 million, to be exact—from brand deals with Nike, Nissan, MasterCard and other companies.
2019 Earnings: $37 million
Oprah was the third-richest Black woman on Forbes’ list at 91st place. The former talk show host made $37 million last year from cable channel, OWN, her 10 percent stake and brand ambassador deal with Weight Watchers, and her new interview series on AppleTV+. While Oprah isn’t the richest celebrity of 2019, she is worth a ton of money. Forbes reports that her net worth is $2.6 billion—of which $75 million is from OWN.
2019 Earnings: $36 million
Williams is the fourth and final Black women on Forbes’ list with $36 million earned in 2019. The tennis player and fashion designer, who ranked at number-98, made a lot of her money from her investments in startups via Serena Ventures. Along with the money she’s made as a professional tennis player, Williams’ cash is also from her fashion line, S, as well as her stakes in the Miami Dolphins and UFC.