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‘Y’all Are Rude for This Statement’: Forbes Criticized for Declaring Billionaires Like Oprah and Jay-Z Too Poor for Their List Naming the 400 Wealthiest Americans

The often referenced aphorism “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” may be due for an edit. Especially considering that billionaires can now be considered poor. At least such was the case when Forbes shared that many of America’s billionaires don’t have the dough to make “The 2022 Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans.”

Oprah Winfrey (estimated net worth, $2.5 billion) is too poor. Kanye West ($2 billion) doesn’t have enough. Neither do Kim Kardashian ($1.8 billion), Michael Jordan ($1.7 billion), Peter Jackson ($1.5 billion) or Jay-Z ($1.3 billion),” wrote the business magazine in a Sept. 27 Instagram post.

Forbes garners criticism after referring to billionaires as “too poor” to make The 2022 Forbes 400 list. Photo: Forbes/Instagram

In 2003, Forbes declared Winfrey a billionaire. Her newly minted financial status was a historical fete, making her the first Black woman in America with an estimated network that surpasses 10 figures. Jordan achieved billionaire status in 2014, more than a decade after his final retirement from the NBA. Jay-Z was added to the list in 2019. He too made history by becoming the first hip-hop billionaire. 

Forbes regularly garners attention for deep diving into the pockets of the wealthiest people around the globe, but the recent post on social media left scores of users offended and perplexed. Elaborating on the difference between rich people and “Forbes 400 rich,” the publication explained that individuals needed to amass more than $2.7 billion to make the list. But, apparently, everyday Americans were not the only ones to feel the impact of inflation.

According to the publication, “As a group, this year’s Forbes 400 is $500 billion poorer than they were a year ago. Their total net worth stands at $4 trillion, down 11% from last year. The minimum net worth required to make the list also fell, by $200 million, to $2.7 billion. It’s the first time since the Great Recession that America’s ultrawealthy aren’t richer than the year before.”

Reactions to the list and the social media post were harsh, with numerous people calling Forbes out for its poor word choice. See some of the comments below:

“What a ridiculous title… ‘billionaires too poor…’ Are we really this far detached from reality?… smh”

“Is there a second meaning of ‘poor’ we haven’t heard yet?”

“Y’all are rude for this statement.”

“This shouldn’t need to be said, but ‘poor’ is absolutely NOT the correct terminology to use.”

Others took issue with the post’s edited mage, which features Winfrey, Jordan, and Kardashian. “Why they gotta use the images of black folk with this article title?” asked one person.

Another commented, “WHY is Michael Jordan —-EXTREMELY LIGHT??? I didn’t even know who I was looking at… Derek Jeter… The Rock… But NOT Michael Jordan. The original Zhong Zhi photo does not even look like this in B/W. ALSO TAKING THEM OUT of their original clothing and putting them in ‘rags’….. SERIOUSLY – Graphic Designer needs to be ashamed of themselves. Only using POC to illustrate your poverty billionaire list…. IS MESSY.”

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