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We take a look at the inspirational stories behind some of the most famous black men and women in the world.
Legendary rapper and music mogul Jay Z grew up in one of the roughest areas in New York City - the Marcy Projects. However he used his negative surroundings to inspire his success. Now, with an estimated fortune of $560m, Jay Z continues to innovate and attempt to elevate Hip-Hop culture.
Rihanna had a tough upbringing that was marred by her father's addiction to alcohol and drugs, as well as her parents marital issues. She also struggled with crippling headaches as a teenager - a condition she attempted to hide from friends. However she turned to music as a release from her troubles and after securing an audition at 15, her life changed. She is now one of the biggest female artists in the world and continues to push boundaries within music and female empowerment. Picture: PA
Iconic businesswoman Oprah Winfrey spent the first six years of her life in poverty while living with her grandmother. According to a 2005 report on theguardian.com, Oprah used to wear “overalls made from potato sacks” that earned her the title ‘Sack Girl’. However despite a lack of finances, Oprah remained positive and eventually transformed herself into a billionaire.
Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii as a community organiser, civil-rights lawyer and teacher, before deciding to pursue his political ambitions. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and didn't look back. After being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he eventually became the first ever black president of the United States Of America in 2008.
Beyonce began her career competing in a number of local talent shows - impressing with her natural singing and dancing abilities. She then teamed up with her cousin Kelly Rowland and two classmates to form one of the greatest all-female groups of all time, Destiny's Child. After huge success with the band, Bey decided to go solo and has become a worldwide figure for female empowerment. She now has an estimated worth of $250m.
50 Cent had an extremely rough upbringing in the streets of Queens, New York. As depicted in his movie 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin', Curtis Jackson grew up in a household with his teenage mother who was addicted to drugs. He often resorted to drug dealing as a source of income and eventually got shot 9 times. However after surviving the incident, 50 changed his life around, focussed on music and became the successful rapper and entrepreneur he is currently known for.
Halle Berry moved to Chicago at a young age to pursue her dreams of acting. However after she quickly ran out of money, her mother decided not to top up her daughter's finances and Berry was forced to stay in a homeless shelter. In an interview with Star Pulse, she said: "It taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation, even if it meant going to a shelter for a small stint, or living within my means, which were meagre."
Legendary rapper and music mogul Puff Daddy grew up in a poor housing projects in Harlem with his mother. According to reports, his father was involved in drug-related activity and was murdered at 33-years-old. However despite his underprivileged background, Diddy always had a passion for business and transformed his dreams into a reality - eventually elevating from an intern to a CEO.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Nicki moved to America at a very young age and grew up in a poverty-stricken area of New York. In a 2002 interview with ContactMusic, she said: "I never want to go back to being poor. Once you have a taste of that, you will always be driven. I know what that felt like, and I don’t want to feel it ever again. So yeah, I mean, my childhood was crazy, but it got me to the point where I had so much faith in whatever I was doing." Picture: Getty
The iconic West Coast rapper grew up very poor and was in a gang selling drugs before he was spotted by Dr Dre. However Snoop focussed on his musical talents and eventually left his negative lifestyle behind, to pursue his ambitions of being a rapper. He now has an estimated fortune of $143m and continues to do work with underprivileged black communities in the US.
According to reports, Mary J. Blige endured a childhood scarred with violence, alcohol and drugs before dropping out of high school at a young age. However despite her negative surroundings, she stuck to her passion of singing and eventually became one of the biggest female R&B singers of all time.
As depicted in the recent NWA biopic 'Straight Outta Compton' Eazy E started as a notorious drug dealer and was involved in lots of gang-related activity before he rose to fame with NWA. After being convinced to invest his money in something positive, Eazy thrived in the music industry and was responsible for the careers of a number of huge acts including Black Eyed Peas. Picture: Rex
Despite only recently releasing his debut album, Fetty Wap has already broken a number of records. For example, he is the first ever Hip-Hop artist to have his first four singles land in the Billboard Top 10. His success all stemmed from his hit single 'Trap Queen', which was his only the third song he ever recorded. He also doesn't hide the fact he only has one eye - inspiring others to embrace their imperfections. Picture: Getty
Tyra Banks started her career as a model at the age of 15 and quickly rose to fame, becoming the first ever African American woman to appear on the front covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She continued to break down doors and after roles in TV and cinema, she created and still stars in long-running TV show 'America's Next Top Model'. She is also among four African Americans to be repeatedly featured in TIME's most influential people list. Picture: Getty
After a rough upbringing in the streets of Compton, Dre utilised his passion for music to get himself out of a negative environment. His first big break came with the success of NWA and he never looked back - cofounding Death Row Records, creating record label Aftermath and being responsible for a number of the biggest acts in Hip-Hop. He was also involved in one of the biggest deals in music industry history, selling Beats to Apple for a reported $3bn.
Before Kanye's debut album The College Dropout was released and he became a household name, he worked as an in-house producer at Roc-A-Fella records and is credited for much of the success Jay Z's classic album 'The Blueprint'. However Kanye's aim was always to make it big as a rapper. And he was knocked back continuously by a number of record labels before Roc-A-Fella's Dame Dash eventually gave him a shot. Yeezy is now one of the most influential people in the world. Picture: Getty