These 3 People Joined The Black Billionaires’ Club In 2022



Forbes’ annual list of the World’s Billionaires for 2022 welcomed 236 newcomers from 34 countries. China and the United States dominated the list, with 52 and 50 debutants, respectively.

These three were among the 236 newcomers. They are Michael Lee-Chin, Rihanna, and Tope Awotona, a tech entrepreneur.

Below is how they made their fortune:

Michael Lee-Chin (ranked 1783)


Michael Lee-Chin has a $1.6 billion net worth. According to Forbes, his fortune stems from his 60% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica through Portland Holdings.

The 71-year-old made money by investing in financial institutions such as the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica and AIC Limited. He bought AIC, a wealth management and mutual fund, in 1987 when it had less than $1 million in assets. By 2002, the firm’s assets had surpassed $10 billion.

However, following the 2008 economic downturn, he sold the company to Manulife, a Canadian financial services group, for an undisclosed sum. Aside from his 60% stake in National Commercial Bank, the self-made billionaire owns stock in several other companies.

He owns Columbus Communications, Sauce Cable Company, the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline, Radio Jamaica, the Reggae Beach Resort, Trident Hotel, Senvia Money Services, and Wallenford Coffee, according to Jamaicans. Lee-Chin was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, to biracial African and Chinese-Jamaican parents, Aston Lee and Hyacinth Gloria Chin. He later traveled to Canada in search of greener pastures.

While in Canada, he submitted over 100 applications, all of which were denied as an immigrant without resources in 1977. He started out as a bouncer and now has a net worth of over $1 billion. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in civil engineering from McMaster University in Canada.


Rihanna (ranked 2016)

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris

Rihanna, a Barbadian singer, debuted on Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2022, with a net worth of $1.4 billion. She is also the country’s youngest self-made billionaire woman. She is the only billionaire under the age of 40, ranking 21st on the prestigious Forbes list.

According to Forbes, the majority of Rinana’s fortune stems from her Fenty Beauty business, with the remainder coming from her $270 million stake in her lingerie company, Savage x Fenty, and her earnings from music and acting.

She founded Fenty Beauty in 2017 in her bid to create a cosmetic company that made “women everywhere (feel) included” in partnership with luxury goods company LVMH. The cosmetic line began with foundation colors and later expanded to include lipstick, lip gloss, body glitter, and other items. Fenty Beauty made more than $550 million in its first year of operation. Rihanna became the first Black woman to launch a clothing line for LVMH called Fenty in 2019, as well as announce new high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Rihanna has made millions of dollars from endorsement deals with brands and companies such as River Island, Mac, Armani, and Balmain, in addition to her cosmetics business. She signed a $1 million endorsement deal with Puma in 2014 to work as their creative director.

Rihanna is also interested in real estate. She buys and resells properties for a profit. She allegedly paid $6.8 million for a mansion in Los Angeles and resold it for $7.4 million. She paid $13 million for a Beverly Hills mansion a few months ago. She also recently purchased a $10 million home near her Beverly Hills mansion.

The singer also owns a mansion in her native Barbados, a $6.8 million villa in the Hollywood Hills, and a high-floor flat in Los Angeles’ Wilshire Corridor. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her primary residence is a $5.2 million condo unit at Century City’s exclusive The Century condo complex.

Rihanna is one of the most outspokenly charitable celebrities. In 2017, she was named Harvard Humanitarian of the Year for her efforts to improve education and health care in the Caribbean and developing countries.

She recently donated $5 million to a number of organizations that are assisting with coronavirus relief efforts. Her other charitable works include donating $1 million to the needy in New York, $2.1 million to abuse victims in Los Angeles, and $5 million to other charities through the Clara Lionel Foundation.


Tope Awotona (ranked 2033)


Tope Awotona, the Nigerian-born techpreneur and founder of the scheduling app Calendly, is one of Frobe’s newest billionaires. According to the report, Awotona is now one of only two Black tech billionaires in the United States, along with 70-year-old David Steward, founder of Missouri-based IT provider World Wide Technology. World Wide Technology was founded by Steward on a shoestring budget and with only seven employees. Today, the company is one of the largest Black-owned IT providers in the United States, with over 20 locations worldwide. The company serves the American government as well as private organizations.

Awotona, 40, founded Calendly in Atlanta nine years ago with $200,000 in his life savings after quitting his job selling software for EMC. Calendly is designed to make it simple to find meeting times. Since its inception, approximately 10 million people have used the platform on a monthly basis, making it extremely popular. The app’s popularity was attributed to the growing number of people working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of Fortune 500 companies, as well as nearly all SaaS 1000 companies, use Calendly. Customers include, Indiana University, and Lift.

Awotona’s background

Awotona was born into a middle-class family in Lagos, Nigeria, to a microbiologist and entrepreneur father and a central banker mother. At the age of 12, Awotona witnessed his father being shot and killed during a carjacking. By the age of 15, he had moved to Atlanta with his family, where he studied computer science at the University of Georgia before pursuing a career in business and management information.

He then sold software to tech companies like EMC and launched a few unsuccessful businesses before founding Calendly. “Calendly has become the most used, most integrated, and most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike,” Awotona told reporters after his platform raised $350 million in funding last year.


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