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    Rihanna just became the newest member of the Black billionaire class. She did it through her ambitious and game-changing makeup company, Fenty Beauty. Fenty rejects eurocentric beauty standards and provides a wide array of cosmetics that celebrate darker skin tones often ignored by the beauty industry. That’s great. Unfortunately, the last thing we need right now is another billionaire, regardless of their skin color.

    While headlines like Yahoo’s “How Rihanna became a billionaire (as she should be)” and the Cut’s “The only acceptable billionaire” may feel good, the framing is harmful. Rihanna’s genius should be celebrated, but the wealth that she has amassed must be criticized. The mere existence of billionaires is a detriment to us all; celebrating the success of another Black billionaire obscures the dangers that the Black upper class poses to the Black working class and working-class people of all ethnicities.

    The current ranks of Black billionaires leave a lot to be desired. While many of them espouse a pro-Black rhetoric, they have often stood on the wrong side of Black empowerment. Jay-Z, now ranked No 12, undermined the efforts of Colin Kaepernick – football player turned Black liberation icon – by providing political cover to the NFL and forming a partnership between the league and his company Roc Nation. As the writer Jemele Hill put it in the Atlantic in 2019: “Jay-Z has given the NFL exactly what it wanted: guilt-free access to black audiences, culture, entertainers and influencers.”


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