Forbes has not released a list of the wealthiest artists in Africa

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on May 27, 2021 at 15:52
  • 2 min read
Facebook posts are being shared in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria with the claim that Forbes magazine has released a list of the richest African musicians”, along with their net worth. But this is false: the list was fabricated and the US business magazine has denied publishing these rankings.

“Last week, Forbes Africa released its list of richest African musicians. They ranked them with their net worth in 2021,” reads the caption in one post, which has received more than 500 comments since being published on May 18, 2021. 

Screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken May 27, 2021

According to the claim, the top three earners are Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, US-Senegalese rapper Akon and South African DJ and producer Black Coffee. Next are Nigerian Afrobeat stars Davido and Wizkid while Ugandan rapper and presidential opposition candidate Bobi Wine is purportedly ranked fifth. 

“Bobi Wine on the African richest musicians list by Forbes,” reads the caption of a video posted on Facebook. 

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked claims about Wine (see here, here and here). 

The purported ranking of the “richest African artists” was shared in other Facebook posts (see here, here, here and here) and online articles (here and here). 

Each artist’s name is followed by an amount purported to be their fortunes: Youssou N’Dour is said to be worth $145 million, Akon $80 million and Black Coffee $60 million. Fourteen Nigerians are among the 20 names.

The list also circulated in French and was shared more than 4,000 times. AFP Fact Check debunked it as false here

Although Forbes routinely publishes lists of the world’s top billionaires, the managing editor of Forbes Africa, Renuka Methil dismissed the posts as fake.

“Forbes Africa has nothing to do with either of the two reports,” she told AFP Fact Check on May 25, 2021.

A search of both the websites for Forbes and Forbes Africa revealed no publications ranking African artists by wealth, either recently or in recent years.

Tanzanian singer Chibu Dangote, who was listed 28th, appeared to fall for the hoax.

“FORBES: next time google me to know what am really worth of, before putting me on your Stupid Richest African Musicians List!!!” he tweeted.

Previous Forbes lists

In 2017, the magazine published a list of the most “profitable” (“bankable”) artists in Africa. However, the rankings of the recent false Facebook posts do not match it.

The magazine ranked singer Akon as the most profitable artist but did not give a figure for his fortune. At the time, the rating was based on the 35 million albums he had sold worldwide and his numerous awards. 

Rapper Akon poses at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Seville on November 3, 2019 (AFP / Cristina QUICLER)

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked other fabricated Forbes rankings here and here.

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