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Inheritance: The Net Worth of the 2011 Root Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Young Black Americans
African Renaissance (2017)
  • Amadu Jacky Kaba
Building on Kaba‘s (2012a) study of the 2011 Root Magazine‘s most influential 100 Black Americans aged 25 to 45, this current study examines the net worth of 46 of these 100 honorees utilizing the concept of inheritance. Almost all of the honorees have inherited the citizenship status as Americans from their parents and ancestors who have lived in the country since 1619, bringing with it important privileges such as  rights to educational attainment, voting or running for political office from local school boards to the U.S. presidency and establishing businesses. Due to their inherited citizenship status as Americans, these honorees have come to accumulate massive wealth. For example, the study finds that these 46 honorees have a combined net worth of $3.29 billion, with men accounting for $2.354 billion, and women accounting for $937 million.  Seven out of every 10 of them are in entertainment and media occupations. Eight honorees have a net worth of at least $120 million. A male honoree, Jay Z, has the largest net worth ($700 million), while a male honoree, Tyler Perry and a female honoree, Beyonce Knowles (wife of Jay-Z), are tied in second place ($450 million). All 14 women in this study have a net worth of at least $1 million. There are 10 male honorees with  net worth of $40 million or more, with four of them having  net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars, and one with a net worth of $145 million. Five of the female honorees are worth $70 million or more. Among the interrelated factors presented to explain the accumulation of such massive amounts of wealth by these honorees are: educational attainment, the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and entrepreneurship. Among the implications of this phenomenon presented in the study are, financial and other support to the Black community, and activism by these honorees on behalf of vulnerable Black Americans, and also vulnerable Americans from other racial and ethnic groups. The significance of this study is that this relatively new development contributes to the body of knowledge an important additional dimension to the gradual progress of people of Black African descent in the New World, Africa, and other parts of the world.  
Publication Date
Summer August, 2017
Citation Information
Amadu Jacky Kaba. "Inheritance: The Net Worth of the 2011 Root Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Young Black Americans" African Renaissance Vol. 14 Iss. 1-2 (2017) p. 139 - 170
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