Earlier this week, Forbes magazine released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America. The COVID-19 pandemic created a nearly unprecedented economic fallout for millions of households across the country, but the same cannot be said for the elite circle of the ultra wealthy, whose collective income saw a 40% increase in the last year –– that’s a $4.5 trillion jump.
There were only two Black people –– two Black men –– who made the 2021 cut for Forbes‘ list: the founder of private equity firm and a tech industry leader.
Robert F. Smith, founder of Vista Equity Partners, is listed as the wealthiest Black man in America, ranking No. 141 on Forbes’ list. With a net worth of $6.7 billion, Smith made headlines in 2019 after pledging to wipe out all the student loan debt for Morehouse’s graduating class that year during his commencement speech. Smith’s firm was founded in 2000 and invests primarily in software companies.
David Steward is the founder of World Wide Technology, an IT provider that boasts clients such as Verizon and the federal government. On Forbes’ list, Steward ranks No. 182, with a net worth topping $5.8 billion.
Steward, 70, grew up in the segregated South with seven siblings. His father worked multiple jobs as a mechanic, trash collector, and janitor to get by. In 2018, Steward donated $1.3 million to the University of Missouri–St. Louis to establish the David and Thelma Steward Institute for Jazz Studies.
Jeff Bezos topped this year’s list with a net worth of $201 billion followed by Elon Musk, worth $190.5 billion and Mark Zuckerberg who’s net worth is listed at $134.5 billion.
Check out the full list here.