Kanye West’s net worth has reportedly jumped to $6.6 billion, a figure that would make the rapper turned fashion mogul the richest Black person in America — although the estimate has sparked some debate.
In a story published Thursday, Bloomberg cited a UBS report that calculated the bulk of West’s wealth based on the burgeoning value of his Yeezy fashion line that has an existing deal with German sportswear giant Adidas and a hotly anticipated collection with normcore mainstay Gap.
A favorite of sneaker collectors and the fashion press, Yeezy is now worth between $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion, primarily due to the brand’s deal with German sportswear giant Adidas. The Yeezy-Gap deal, which will see a collection released later this summer, is expected to be worth more than $970 million. West is the sole owner of the Yeezy brand.
As for the rest of the rapper’s wealth, $1.7 billion comes from his significant investment in soon-to-be-ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s Skims shapewear line, and he has $122 million in cash and stock, along with $110 million from his music catalog.
If we take the $6.6 billion figure, the 43-year-old West is now richer than Vista Equity Partners founder Robert Smith, World Wide Technology’s David Steward, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan and becomes the richest Black person in America.
Hours after the Bloomberg story, however, Forbes, a publication synonymous with tracking the wealth of the super-rich, pushed back on that figure. In a blog post, Forbes said that the Bloomberg figure was “not true, based on our calculations” and that “Forbes estimates he’s worth less than a third of that, or $1.8 billion.”
“The Bloomberg story cites a UBS report on his businesses — the same document Forbes saw earlier this month,” Forbes’ Madeline Berg writes. “The bank made a number of assumptions based on projected future earnings, particularly for Yeezy Gap, which hasn’t even launched yet. Bank documents like this are well-known for painting best-possible-scenario future valuations.”
She added: “Forbes’ much more grounded number is based on that old-fashioned idea of current revenues — not theoretical future expectations. Yeezy Gap has brought in no revenue, let alone any profits.”
Even at Forbes’ much lower estimate, West’s stratospheric wealth is far removed from the lows of 2016, when he revealed he was $53 million in debt and was asking Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion to invest in his ideas.