These prominent women in the music industry, from Beyoncé to Queen Latifah and beyond, speak transparently about their top tips and tricks for financial stability.
If there’s anyone who can teach a course on financial literacy, it’s the women who boast about towering stacks of cash in their music. Music moguls in hip-hop, rap, and R&B offer sage wisdom on staying financially afloat — queue Rihanna’s “B**** Better Have My Money.”
While it’s no secret that women are paid less than $0.75 to the male counterparts’ full dollar, these women across various music industry genres are taking what they’ve learned from previous experiences and giving advice to the next generation of women to follow in their footsteps. From learning how to capitalize on their personal brands to keeping their relationships separate from their coin, these women are truly worth taking notes from as we strive for financial freedom during and beyond Women’s History Month. Ahead is the best advice we’ve gathered from female music moguls whose net worth can back up their braggadocious lyricism.
Beyoncé doesn’t mix men and her money
While we’ve made extensive strides toward narrowing the wage gap, we’d be remiss to not recognize the economic inequality women still face. Queen Bey herself, with an estimated $500 million net worth, isn’t blind to the stark wage gap’s impact on women’s economic mobility. Her method to the madness? Separating her man from her moolah.
“You know, equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?,” she said in an interview with GQ in 2013. “I truly believe that women should be financially independent from their men. And let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show.”
Nicki Minaj on pay transparency
The Head Barb in Charge says one key to finances is diligently understanding the competitors within your workforce — even if it means asking unconventional questions.
“I know it’s taboo to discuss it at work. Technically, you shouldn’t, but you need to know what people around you are making,” Minaj said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “Otherwise, you’re not going to know what you’re worth. You have to ask questions.”
Rihanna on letting passion be your fuel
Rihanna’s entrepreneurial empire of Fenty Beauty (co-owned by French luxury retailer LVMH), Savage X Fenty, Fenty Skin, her PUMA collaboration, and her brief Fenty Maison luxury has ascended her wealth to billionaire territory – an estimated $1.4 billion to be exact. While the tools of capitalism can easily consume anyone into a space of greed, Rih Rih says passion is what reminds her to remain humble.
“I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working. I’m not being driven by money right now,” Rihanna told New York Times Style Magazine. “Money is happening along the way, but I’m working out of what I love to do, what I’m passionate about. Work will change when my life changes in the future but an amount of money is not going to stop that.”
Queen Latifah on multiple streams of income
Queen Latifah’s massive success has reigned across show business, from Grammy-award winning music to bringing home Golden Globes. From the imminence of her rap career, she always knew that her fortune must come from multiple avenues.
“My mom has always been my champion. She was very smart and grounded. She said, ‘Save your money. Pay your taxes. Don’t put everything in one basket,” Latifah said in an interview with Good Housekeeping.
Mary J. Blige on paying your taxes
Even the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul has faced financial burden like us all. While wrestling with a bitter divorce to her former husband-manager Martin Isaac, Blige was forced to pay $30,000 a month in spousal support. Shortly after, exacerbating the weight of her debt, she owed the IRS $6.5 million in unpaid back taxes from 2008-2016.
“I never wanted to do all this stuff, but after what I’ve been through and the mess that I’m in. You have to pay those taxes. It’s good to see what you have and what you don’t have — and why are we paying this person $5,000 a week?,” she previously told Vulture.
Chloe Bailey on monetizing your influence
Chloe Bailey, one-half of the glorious Grammy-nominated sister-duo Chloe x Halle signed to Parkwood Entertainment, admits that the music industry isn’t as financially-stimulating as it appears. “Musicians don’t make a lot of money in the music industry,” she said on the popular YouTube series, The Terrell Show. “That’s why you see a lot of people, they have brand deals and brand sponsorships. That’s where the coin comes from and touring but like music itself you’re actually losing money.”
The revelation of the industry’s underbelly is grim but Bailey has monetized her image to leverage the field. Last October, the “Have Mercy” singer joined Pepsi to reimagine the iconic titular track “Footloose” for the return of Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop. Previously, she and her sister Halle Bailey, who is slated to star in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, were announced as brand ambassadors for Neutrogena.
Lauryn Hill on prioritizing economic freedom
As a lyrical voice of conscience, Lauryn Hill encourages economic freedom to be the fore of all financial endeavors. After being imprisoned in 2013 for her failure to pay $2 million to the IRS, Hill sought for a separation between commerce and her artistic sovereignty.
“I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings,” Lauryn Hill previously said.
India.Arie on balancing morals and money
Last year, Grammy-winning neo-soul songstress India.Arie removed her music from Spotify after the audio giant continued to financially support podcaster Joe Rogan, despite his racially-abusive language. During the time of her protest, she began receiving royalty payments and the royalty rate for songwriters from stream payments increased. Arie’s music now returns to Spotify; the small strides in the industry now slightly comforts her as she rejoins the platform.
“I deserve my checks. There’s still not gonna be enough,” she says of the meager shifts she’s witnessed. “And there’s still so much that needs to be changed in the music industry for it to be humane, really. But I stood up for myself and I got some shifts, and I want my checks, period.”
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