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Billionaires - April 24, 2022

5 Black Billionaires who came from Nothing

The inspiring narrative of some black billionaires who rose from nothing can fuel your entrepreneurial ambitions. 

They have overcome adversity and rewritten their stories through amazing tenacity and determination. Here are five billionaires who built an empire from nothing.

Kennedy Okonkwo

Kennedy Okonkwo’s father, despite being poor, valued education. He said, “My father saw education as the sole crucial thing needed for true survival”.

When his father died, though, things took a turn for the worst. His family was evicted from their house in Ebute Metta, Lagos. The only location they could call home was under the Ikeja bridge in Lagos State. These misfortunes, however, did not dampen his enthusiasm to succeed. Instead, they changed his life perspective and increased his resolve.

Today, he is one of the leading voices in Nigeria’s real estate industry worth multi-million dollars and the Chief Executive Officer of Nedcomoaks.

Cosmas Maduka

Cosmas Maduka is one of Nigeria’s billionaires who came from nothing. He talked about how his mother’s confidence and hopeful outlook helped him survive.

He began selling bean cakes on the streets of Nnewi, Anambra, when he was four years old. Subsequently, he was taken to Lagos to work as an apprentice under his uncle’s guidance at the age of six. He got exposed to the automobile sector as a result of this.

Despite his hard work for his uncle, he was only paid $0.48. (200 nairas) at the end of the apprenticeship in 1976, an amount that was next to nothing, even at the time. This did not deter Maduka. He began with his spare parts company. Despite the obstacles in his path, he forged on and became successful. He established Coscharis Motor in 1977.

In 1982, his firm and ten others were granted a license to import car spare parts. As a result, he was fortunate enough to meet several Japanese people who assisted him in further developing his business skills. 

Ever since, Coscharis Group has grown into a multi-million-dollar corporation.

Oprah Winfred

Despite being born into a poor household in Mississippi and having a traumatic childhood, Oprah Winfred grew to become a world-renowned celebrity and a household name.

At the age of 13, she ran away due to the assault and molestation by two family members and an acquaintance. She gave birth at 14, and the infant died shortly after.

Notwithstanding this, she was a bright and determined young woman. Winfrey received a scholarship to Tennessee State University and became the state’s first African-American TV journalist at 19.

She relocated to Chicago and launched her morning program, later known as “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. From 1986 until 2011, the show ran for 25 seasons, after which she launched OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is worth $2.6 billion.

Floyd Mayweather

billionaires nothing

Floyd Mayweather had a complicated family, which resulted in a strict upbringing. His father was a narcotics dealer with a bad temper and was always in and out of danger. On the other hand, his mother, Deborah Mayweather, struggled with substance abuse.

As a result, he spent most of his young years with his grandma. Rather than seeking consolation in narcotics like his parents, he sought boxing to express his dissatisfaction and fury.

He quickly acquired the abilities necessary to pursue a career as a professional boxer. He was the best at his age because of his precision, quickness, and incredible ring sense. In 1993, 1994, and 1996, he won the national Golden Gloves.

On October 11, 1996, Mayweather made his professional debut and continued to win at an incredible pace. He won his first world title, the WBC super featherweight belt, in 1998 after defeating Genaro Hernandez.


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In 2000, Mayweather’s career surged even faster, as he began on a seven-year run that had many fight fans hailing him as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

He advanced four weight classes during this time, winning the WBC lightweight championship in 2002, the WBC super lightweight title in 2005, and the IBF, IBO, WBC, and IBA welterweight crowns in 2006. In 2007, he won the WBC super welterweight title by defeating Oscar De La Hoya.

As a result of his achievement, he became the third highest-paid American athlete in 2010, earning more than $60 million. In 2020, Mayweather was added to the Boxing Hall of Fame. Floyd Mayweather’s net worth is above $1 billion as of May 2021.

Shawn Corey Carter “Jay-Z”

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Jay-Z was born in the drug-infested Marcy Houses, a housing complex in Brooklyn’s Bedford–Stuyvesant neighbourhood, on December 4, 1969. Jay-Z and his siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter, after their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family.

He had a difficult youth, and according to him, he sold drugs and was shot three times. Despite all this, he became successful and good at what he does. Although he dropped out of school, Shawn was good at freestyling and lyrics writing. As a result, he was given the moniker “Jazzy”.

In 1989, he collaborated with Jaz-O, an older rapper who functioned as a mentor, on a song called “The Originators,” which earned them a spot on an episode of Yo! MTV Raps. He adopted the new moniker Jay-Z, which was a homage to Jaz-O.

On the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home, Jay-Z made a name for himself with the posse cut “Show and Prove”.

Even with a stage persona, Jay-Z remained largely unknown until 1996, when he and two friends, Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, launched Roc-a-Fella Records. The same year, Jay-Z’s album, Reasonable Doubt, was released.

Despite his background, he was able to build an empire through his music career. He also made a name for himself as a successful businessman, with a portfolio that includes apparel lines, drinks, real estate, sports teams, and record labels. In 2019, he was named hip-first hop’s billionaire. As of this year, Jay-Z is worth $1.3 billion.


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