For the second year in a row, Forbes has released a list of the richest women in the United States who've earned their fortunes on their own. The list consists of 60 women, but less than a handful of them are Black. Each of the women, Oprah Winfrey, Sheila Johnson, Janice Bryant Howroyd, and Beyoncé have utilized their incredible skill and business savvy to amass incredible wealth.
Oprah Winfrey's magic has rubbed off on Weight Watchers. Since the media mogul bought a 10% stake in the diet empire in October 2015, its stock is up some 90%. The long-reigning queen of daytime TV has also proven she can thrive without a talk show. Her cable network, OWN, delivered its most-watched year in 2015, following four years of double-digit viewership growth, according to Nielsen. Next up: miniseries Queen Sugar, coproduced with Selma collaborator Ava DuVernay, and TV drama Greenleaf, about a Tennessee megachurch.
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Net revenues of Janice Bryant Howroyd's staffing and human resources firm, Act-1, have topped $1 billion, up 9% versus a year ago, solidifying her position as head of one of the biggest woman and minority-owned businesses in America; the firm has 12,000 clients and 2,600 employees in 19 countries. Howroyd has served on presidential commissions for the past two Presidents. She was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Her journey to success started with a vacation in California in 1976 visiting her sister. She never left and two years, after not finding a job she wanted, decided to start an employment agency with $1,500, including a $900 loan from her mother. "I didn't have a lot of what people typically have to start a business but I did have a lot of intelligence," says Howroyd, "Sometimes when you don't have anything, you can be bolder than someone who has something and is afraid to lose it."
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Beyoncé has already pulled in more than $500 million in gross earnings as a solo artist. With husband Jay Z (whose own net worth is $610 million), she has also cashed in on joint tours, multimillion-dollar endorsement deals with companies like H&M and Pepsi, and investments in companies like Tidal, the music-streaming service she and her husband co-own with Madonna and others. Beyoncé launched her latest album, Lemonade, exclusively on Tidal in April. It was her sixth studio album to debut at No. 1.
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