In this crazy economy, who couldn’t use an additional source of income and added job security? Even for celebrities who rake in plenty of cash, nothing is promised.
Which explains why the superstar elite have mastered the art of hustling to find other streams of revenue outside of music, TV, sports and film. But it’s not just about cashing out. It’s also about following their purpose. In addition to working their “day jobs,” celebs have added makeup mogul, designer, production, wellness, chef and author to their expansive resumes.
Below, 15 Black women who refused to be one-trick ponies, turning their passions into profit.
When she’s not walking side by side next to King T’Challa in Black Panther or slaying zombies in The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira’s other passion project includes writing plays. She’s already had several successful off-Broadway runs, and now the Yale graduate is teaming up with fellow Black Panther cast member Lupita Nyong’o to write the screenplay for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.
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We already know Beyoncé doesn’t operate within the same time constraints as the rest of us. How else do you explain the mother of three finding time to record music, film videos, prepare for worldwide tours and creating her athleisure collection, Ivy Park? As if that wasn’t enough, she also partnered with her trainer Marco Borges for his vegan food delivery company and invested in juice company WTRMLN WTR.
Besides writing and producing hit shows on the TGIT lineup like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, Shonda Rhimes has also dipped her toe into digital publishing. Most recently, she launched lifestyle site Shondaland.com in 2017.
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The child star of comedy show Sister, Sister and mom-to-be has a lot on her plate these days, from cooking up delicious meals on her Cooking Channel TV show to releasing her vegan-friendly cookbook titled Whole New You. Somehow she still finds time to post cute and fun videos on her YouTube channel, “Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix.”
Off the court, the tennis pro is a proud franchise owner of Jamba Juice. But that’s not all. She also owns interior design company V-Starr and has a successful tennis apparel line called EleVen by Venus.
In addition to starring on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Viola Davis and her husband, actor Julian Tennon, started an integrated digital, television and film production company called JuVee Productions to create more opportunities for actors of color.
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From singing on Broadway to writing hit songs, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss-Tucker is the ultimate hustler. Not only is she the owner of Tags Boutique in Atlanta, but she also launched her own sex toy and pleasure line, Bedroom Kandi. Most recently she’s added restaurateur to her resume, after opening the Old Lady Gang soul food restaurant in Atlanta this past year.
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While we’ve come to know Erykah Badu as the Queen of Neo-Soul, her clients also refer to her as “Erykah Badoula,” as reported by People magazine. That’s because she’s helped birth more than 30 babies as a certified doula. She also moonlights as a DJ and curates artists' projects.
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It’s not just her milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard. Singer Kelis is also known for her finger-licking jerk ribs and signature jerk barbecue sauces, too. The mother of two is a certified, trained chef from culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, and she also has her own cookbook, My Life on a Plate: Recipes From Around the World. In March 2018, she purchased a farm to expand her food empire and grow her own produce.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Girls Trip star Jada Pinkett Smith is a jack of all trades—actress, singer, songwriter and author. She and husband Will Smith also have their own production company, Overbrook Entertainment, which is the company behind successful films like Annie and The Pursuit of Happyness.
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Clearly, pop star Rihanna put in the work, work, work, work to create her all-inclusive Fenty Beauty line. In fact, most of the products sold out almost immediately after hitting shelves at Sephora. She also serves as a creative director Puma and was the first woman to win “Shoe of the Year” for the popular creepers from her Fenty x Puma line.
Porsha Williams may be famous for being a cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and a host on syndicated show Dish Nation, but she also has a hair extensions collection with Go Naked and launched lingerie line, Naked Lingerie, in 2016.
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Today, fans aren’t just singing Patti LaBelle’s classic songs. They’re also singing her praises for her tempting desserts, Patti’s Pies, sold exclusively at Walmart. The line has since grown to include more than the viral sweet potato pies, from berry-filled cobblers to caramel cake. The cookbook author and legendary singer also has her own line of marinades and sauces.
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Real Housewives of Atlanta reality star Cynthia Bailey first branched out into business with a modeling agency, and she also launched her own eyewear line and luggage collection.
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Actress Gabrielle Union turned #HairGoals into a business, creating her own hair-care line, Flawless by Gabrielle Union. The products are geared towards women of color with textured hair. She’s also the author of the best-selling book, We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True.