2012’s Top Ten Earning African Americans


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The top ten earning African Americans earned approximately $700 million last year. It should be noted that these are pre-tax and pre-fee earnings. Because the majority of African America’s highest earners still earn their money through sports and entertainment their earnings are considered earned income by IRS definition and taxed at the highest tax rate which this year is almost 40 percent. Couple that with their agent fees (byproduct of being in the entertainment industry is a need for endless amounts of handlers) that average in the range of 10 percent, the group of ten will pay out almost 50 percent of their earnings. Chris Rock is famously quoted as saying “Shaq is rich, the white man who signs his check….is wealthy.” The income disparity between the top ten earning African Americans and European Americans is a staggering $0.07 for every $1.00 while the overall income gap between African Americans is $0.52 and $0.62 versus Asian Americans and European Americans, respectively.

1 – Oprah Winfrey

Salary: $165 million

Source: Ms. Winfrey owns Harpo, Inc. which owns 50 percent of OWN. OWN which has operated in the red since its inception is estimated to break even this fiscal year. Thankfully, Ms. Winfrey still profits greatly from syndicated shows under her company such as Dr. Phil and others.

2 – Andre Young

Salary: $110 million

Source: Better known as Dr. Dre, his place as the number two spot is due to a one-off moment where HTC paid $300 million for a majority stake in the company that operates the headphones that carry his name Beats By Dr. Dre. Mr. Young owned one-third of the company at the time of the sale.

3 – Tyler Perry

Salary: $105 million

Source: Movies

4 – LeBron James

Salary: $53 million

Source: Miami Heat and endorsements

5 – R. Rihanna Fenty

Salary: $53 million

Source: Music and endorsements

6- Kobe Bryant

Salary: $50 million

Source: Los Angeles Lakers and endorsements

7 – Sean Combs

Salary: $45 million

Source: Endorsements, Clothing, Marketing

8 – Floyd Mayweather

Salary: $40 million

Source: Boxing

9 – Beyonce Carter

Salary: $40 million

Source: Music, endorsements, clothing

10 – Shawn Carter

Salary: $38 million

Source: Music, endorsements, marketing, invest

Source: Forbes

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