9 Hugely Successful Black People Who Dropped Out of School

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school gordy

Berry Gordy  Jr.

Berry Gordy dropped out of high school in 11th grade in hopes of becoming rich as a professional boxer – a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.

Gordy would later borrow $800 from his parents to build his own record label. He created Motown Records in Detroit and went on to write hit songs like “Lonely Teardrops”  and “I’ll be Satisfied,” and manage talents such as The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and more.

Gordy is known for running Motown’s record production like an assembly line, emulating Detroit’s Big Three car companies. He sold Motown Records in 1988 for $61 million, and later sold Jobete Music Corp. in installments to EMI Music Publishing for more than $300 million combined.

school russell

Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons briefly attended classes at City College of New York before dropping out. Simmons went on to become the co-founder of Def Jam records, founder of Russell Simmons Music Group, Phat Farm fashions and a bestselling author.

Simmons sold Phat Farm in 2004 for a rumored $140 million. Under his parent company Rush Communications, Simmons also owns a television and movie production company, an advertising agency and an athletics line called Run Athletics. He reportedly has a net worth estimated at $340 million.

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