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Did Kanye go from “Crazy Cousin” to “the richest Black man ever”?

Miles Kelley
Kanye West

“I am Picasso. I’m Walt Disney, I’m Steve Jobs.” – Kanye West, 2013

Kanye has never been short on quotable moments. But it has always been a question whether or not he was short a few screws. Kanye's comments and antics have always cast a spotlight on his mental health and mental stability. his comments from Sway in the morning, to TMZ to live rants on stage all cast some doubts on what's going on in his head. And his tweets probably can only be rivaled by his former father figure Donald Trump.

Another question mark in Kanye's history has been his finances. Back in 2016, it was reported that West was over $53 million in debt. He even very famously asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion into his ideas. But the bounce back has been real. In 2019, Forbes reported that Kanye had made $150 million in the previous 12 months. But even that $150 million pails in comparison to what Forbes reported about a year ago.

Kanye has been very vocal about his disdain for the fact that Forbes refused to report him as a billionaire. Besides his tweets on the matter, he even told a panel in a Hollywood Reporter interview about how he felt his omission from the list was a strategic effort to keep Black people from realizing their economic power. He wasn't only publicly critical of the omission, but even sent scathing text messages directly to Forbes personnel.

But that all changed March of last year. Forbes finally published an article announcing that Ye was officially Hip Hop's second billionaire. Even still, there was still a fight over what the Yeezy mastermind was truly worth. At the time Forbes reported Kanye's worth was slightly over $1 billion, but he insisted that he was well over 3 billion. And the feud over Kanye's actual worth is still ongoing.

It was announced by Bloomberg media earlier this week that Kanye West was reportedly worth well over $6 billion. That figure includes West's Yeezy clothing and shoe deal with Adidas and Gap, which investment bank UBS valued at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion. Bloomberg also estimated that West has $122 million in cash or stock, along with a $110 million music catalog and $1.7 billion in other investments. Sales of Yeezy's Adidas sneakers grew 31% during the coronavirus pandemic to annual revenue of nearly $1.7 billion last year, netting West $191 million in royalties, Bloomberg said in citing UBS.

If accurate, this makes Kanye West the richest Black American of all time. Of… all… time.

But the key words here are “if accurate.” Once again, Forbes has something to say.

“Reports that the celebrity is worth nearly $7 billion are based on the magical thinking around sales that don’t yet exist. This is why he’s currently worth less than one third of that.”

The $6.6 billion net worth that Bloomberg reported included an estimate on the worth of his Gap deal. A deal, that at the time of estimation, has yet to actually hit stores. This number is purely speculation and guesses. Due to that speculation, Forbes estimates Kanye's current net worth at $1.8 billion. A figure that is still much higher than reported just about a year ago.

But in all honesty, $6.6… $1.8… the crazy cousin has built generational wealth for his family for decades to come. Kanye West, the man that dominated headlines for calling slavery a choice, is a billionaire. Yeezus, the man that launched a Presidential campaign on the heels of The Birthday Party, is a billionaire. Mr. West, the man that called a MAGA hat his “Superman cape”, is a billionaire.

When Kanye was nothing but a little known beat maker that Jay-Z didn't believe in as a rapper, West still believed that he was Picasso. He has since amassed a music catalog worth over $90 million. Kanye is a creative genius. Period. It is impossible to debate his creative abilities. Whether it's music production, lyrical ability, fashion design, or even the way Kanye produces his shows. Regardless of the questions of his mental fitness, regardless of the naysayers of his abilities, he never stopped his grind. Even being over $50 million in debt, the Walt Disney of our time stayed the course.

In entrepreneurship, not everyone is going to believe in you. Not everyone is going to support you. You are not always going to be in the black. And yes, people will call you crazy. Failure is apart of the process of success. Belief in your abilities is the difference maker between being a simple beat maker and one of the most influential musical artists of our generation. Perseverance is the difference maker between being $50 million in the whole and being in the conversation of richest Black person of all time.

Imagine where Kanye would be if he let being called crazy or letting nonbelievers stop him. Now imagine where you can be if you continue to push forward and stay on your business journey just like our crazy cousin Ye.

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  • […] than three months since it was reported that Kanye could possibly be the richest Black man of all time, the first piece from his much anticipated Gap partnership has arrived. Forbes declared the […]

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