Seeing black celebrity through the lens of Beyonce leads African-Americans to believe that black celebrities have money just like white celebrities. The numbers, however, tell a different story. Beyonce and Yeezy are top earners, for sure, but they are not an accurate representation of black entertainers.
In Billboard’s list of top moneymakers for 2015, Taylor Swift tops the list at $73.5 million, followed by Kenny Chesny at $39.8 million, the Rolling Stones at $39.6 million and Billy Joel at $31.7 million.
Both the Rolling Stones and Bill Joel are older acts who produce infrequent albums, yet they’re still raking in the dough. Meanwhile, J Cole, the hottest act in hip-hop right now, doesn’t appear on the list until number 27 with $8.8 million. Even with crossover appeal, the Weeknd followed J. Cole at $8.6 million in total revenue for 2015.
A Black Person Doesn’t Even Show Up on Billboard’s List of Top Moneymakers Until No. 27Click to tweet
To put this in context, Britney Spears, a throwback to the 90’s, beat out both J. Cole and The Weeknd with $10.6 million in revenue. Tweet this!
This is instructive in understanding the limits of black celebrity and the money earned from it. Some people frequently tout the supposed trillion dollars in buying power in the ‘black community’, but if blacks truly had that level of consumption power, black celebrities would be higher earners. Furthermore, the key to the success of any community is not consumption, but production. Tweet this!