6 Black American Comeback Stories: Inspiration To Get Back Up After You Fall

6 Black American Comeback Stories: Inspiration To Get Back Up After You Fall


Photos (L-R, clockwise): 50 Cent via Instagram/Isaac Hayes via Instagram/Nas via Instagram/MCHammer via Instagram/Mike Tyson via Instagram/Steve Harvey via Instagram

The journey of resilience and triumph among Black Americans who have faced adversity embodies powerful narratives of perseverance and determination. From overcoming financial hardships and navigating systemic obstacles to reclaiming their dreams and aspirations, these comeback stories are sources of inspiration and motivation.

1. 50 Cent’s Financial Rollercoaster

Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, has experienced the heights of success and the depths of financial struggles throughout his career. His journey is a testament to resilience and reinvention, from dominating the charts with hit tracks like “In Da Club” and “Candy Shop” to facing bankruptcy after squandering a massive fortune.

50 Cent burst onto the music scene with his debut album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” propelling him to global stardom and affording him a lifestyle most could only dream of. He invested in lavish properties, including Mike Tyson’s former mansion, and made shrewd business moves like acquiring a stake in VitaminWater, which earned him a substantial windfall when Coca-Cola acquired the brand.

He invested during the global recession that backfired, resulting in significant financial losses. Legal battles and exorbitant legal fees further depleted his wealth.

In 2015, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy after he claimed he had spent $470 million. Despite this setback, he viewed bankruptcy as an opportunity for a fresh start, Unilad reported.

Post-bankruptcy, 50 Cent embarked on new ventures, including acting and producing the TV show “Power,” for which he secured a lucrative $150 million deal. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish businesses like SMS Audio and G-Unit Clothing Company, contributing to his current estimated net worth of $40 million.

He is the owner of Sire Spirits, which is the marketing powerhouse behind Champagne and Cognac brands “Le Chemin Du Roi” and “Branson Cognac.” But even this has not been without drama. One of his employees was found to have embezzled millions, and 50 Cent is now suing Beam Suntory, alleging the company was complacent in the embezzlement scheme.

And last week, he unveiled G-Unit Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana, marking an expansion of his film and TV projects. Jackson expressed enthusiasm for the creative potential of music, film, and television, emphasizing G-Unit Studios’ launch in Shreveport as a commitment to fostering talent and building a thriving creative community, The Hollywood Reporter reported. Founded in 2003, G-Unit Film & Television Inc. has a robust history, including producing Starz’s popular series “Power” and its spin-offs. Jackson’s decision to part ways with Starz last year followed public criticism of the network’s handling of G-Unit’s TV shows.

2. Isaac Hayes: A Musical Journey Of Triumph

The iconic American composer, singer, songwriter, and actor Isaac Hayes left an indelible mark on the music and entertainment industry. Despite facing financial challenges, including bankruptcy in the mid-1970s, Hayes’ career is a testament to resilience.

Hayes rose to prominence with his distinctive musical style characterized by deep baritone vocals and innovative arrangements. His breakthrough came with the release of “Hot Buttered Soul” in 1969.

One of Hayes’ most celebrated achievements was the Academy Award-winning “Theme from Shaft” (1971), the theme song for the now-classic film “Shaft.” This achievement made him the first African American to win an Oscar in a non-acting category for a musical composition.

Throughout his career, Hayes released over 20 studio albums, including the Gold-certified “Joy” (1973), “Chocolate Chip” (1975), and “Don’t Let Go” (1979). His collaboration with David Porter produced timeless hits like “Soul Man,” immortalized by the soul duo Sam & Dave and later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Despite his musical success, Hayes faced financial turmoil in the mid-1970s, culminating in a bankruptcy filing in 1976. He owed substantial debts of around $6 million, primarily to Union Planters Bank, which led to the loss of his mansion, personal possessions, and future royalties from his music catalog, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

However, Hayes embarked on a remarkable comeback in the late 1990s with his role as Jerome “Chef” McElroy on Comedy Central’s animated series “South Park.” Chef’s character became a cultural icon, showcasing Hayes’ comedic talent and introducing him to a new generation of fans. His tenure on “South Park” spanned from 1997 to 2006 and he received numerous Emmy Award nominations, CNBC reported.

Hayes passed away at 65 on Aug. 10, 2008 with a net worth of $2 million.

3. Nas Battled Financial Struggles Amid Music Ventures

Esteemed rapper and hip-hop icon Nas has encountered financial challenges, including the loss of his Georgia home and substantial debts owed to the IRS.

Despite his storied career and entrepreneurial ventures, Nas’ financial woes have made headlines. The rapper’s two-bedroom, three-bathroom Georgia property was sold in 2010 in a public auction after he reportedly failed to meet mortgage repayments. The home, acquired in 2004 for $585,000, was sold for $348,500 by SunTrust Bank, leading to questions about Nas’ financial stability.

Furthermore, Nas has faced IRS tax liens totaling over $6.46 million, including a recent $514,298 lien filed in January 2011, Rolling Stone reported. These tax debts compound existing financial challenges, with Nas reportedly owing significant amounts in condo fees, child support ($5,000 monthly), and spousal support ($20,000 monthly) following his messy divorce from singer Kelis in 2010, The New Zealand Herald reported.

In 2021, Nas, who has known to invest in tech, unexpectedly reaped substantial gains from Coinbase IPO due to his early investment in the company through QueensBridge Venture Partners. Nas’ stake in Coinbase, estimated to be worth at least $40 million, stems from the firm’s participation in Coinbase’s $25 million Series B round in 2013. At the time of investment, when Coinbase was valued at about $150 million, QueensBridge committed between $100,000 and $500,000, acquiring a significant number of shares. Coinbase’s valuation soared above $100 billion during its IPO, the value of Nas’ shares skyrocketed, ranging between $41.2 million and $206 million based on the opening share price of $415, Forbes reported.

Today, his net worth is estimated to be around $70 million.

The rapper’s financial predicament contrasts sharply with his recent foray into business ventures, including a collaboration with Resorts World Casino New York City on a $5 billion expansion project, Forbes reported. This ambitious initiative aims to transform the Queens neighborhood and elevate local communities through innovative amenities, such as hotel rooms, entertainment spaces, and improved transportation options.

4. MC Hammer: From Financial Ruin To Tech Visionary

MC Hammer, the iconic rapper known for hits like “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit,” experienced a meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the late 1980s and early 1990s, only to face financial turmoil and bankruptcy within a few short years.

Despite his setbacks, Hammer’s journey took a remarkable turn as he reinvented himself as a respected entrepreneur and tech investor in Silicon Valley.

At the pinnacle of his career, MC Hammer was earning an astonishing $30 million annually, amassing a personal fortune estimated at around $70 million. However, fueled by his success, Hammer indulged in extravagant spending, acquiring a fleet of luxury cars, a private jet, a helicopter, and a lavish mansion in California featuring opulent amenities like gold-plated fixtures and a bowling alley. He employed a substantial staff of 200 people, leading to exorbitant monthly expenses ranging from $500,000 to $1 million, AfroTech reported.

Within a short span of five years, Hammer found himself facing bankruptcy. Despite this setback, Hammer’s story didn’t end with financial ruin. Hammer pivoted towards a new path as a tech investor and consultant.

Venturing into Silicon Valley in the mid-’90s, Hammer began investing in tech startups. He founded two tech companies, advised numerous startups, and made strategic investments in platforms like Twitter and YouTube, AfroTech reported. His current net worth is estimated at around $2 million.

5. Mike Tyson: From Boxing Riches To Financial Challenges To Comeback

Mike Tyson, once regarded as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and one of the highest-paid athletes globally, faced extreme financial turbulence that saw his net worth plummet from hundreds of millions to a reported bankruptcy in 2003. Despite these hardships, Tyson has embarked on a remarkable comeback, leveraging his iconic status and investments in various ventures, including the cannabis industry, to rebuild his financial standing.

At his peak, Mike Tyson’s net worth soared to an estimated $300 million, fueled by hefty fight purses, lucrative endorsements, and a larger-than-life persona that captivated audiences worldwide, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Tyson’s rise to fame was meteoric, becoming the youngest champion in history at just 20 years old, known for his unmatched punching power.

However, Tyson’s lavish spending habits and financial mismanagement ultimately led him down a path of financial ruin. He declared bankruptcy in 2003, having a staggering $23 million in debt. 

In 2010, Tyson said, “I’m totally destitute and broke. But I have an awesome life,” Marca reported.

Tyson’s financial turnaround was fueled by a series of smart investments and business ventures. He ventured into the cannabis industry, launching Tyson Ranch, a company specializing in marijuana products and education. He founded Iron Mike Productions, a boxing promotion company aimed at nurturing young talent in the sport. His net worth is reportedly $10 million today.

In recent years, Tyson’s comeback has gained momentum, with high-profile exhibition fights and movie appearances. His upcoming fight against Jake Paul, set to stream live in July on Netflix, promises to be another lucrative endeavor, with unofficial sources speculating a substantial $20 million payday for Tyson.

6. Steve Harvey: How The Comedian And Host Built A $200 Million Fortune

Steve Harvey, comedian, businessman, award-winning show host, and entertainer, boasts a staggering net worth of $200 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. His journey to success began in the 1980s when he gained national fame as a stand-up comedian. From 1996 to 2002, Harvey starred in “The Steve Harvey Show,” a sitcom on the WB network that ran for 122 episodes across six seasons. Today, he is best known for hosting the nationally syndicated radio show “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” alongside his roles as the host of popular game shows like “Family Feud” and “Celebrity Family Feud.”

Harvey’s annual earnings range between $40 to $50 million, with a significant portion derived from his hosting gigs. Hosting “Family Feud” alone garners him around $10 million annually, while his radio hosting duties bring in an impressive $20 million per year.

He ventured into entrepreneurship with the release of the book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” in 2009, which inspired the film “Think Like a Man.” Harvey’s literary works, including “Straight Talk, No Chaser” and “Act Like A Success,” enjoyed extended stays on the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2014, Harvey co-launched the dating site Delightful in partnership with IAC and co-created the show “Little Big Shots” with Ellen DeGeneres in 2016. His production company, East One Twelve, and Harvey Events, led by his daughter Morgan, exemplify his diverse business ventures.

But his latest fame and fortune came after a series of financial hardships. Harvey often talks about living in his car for a period of time while trying to make it as a comedian. Then once he started earning money, he learned that his deceased accountant had not paid his taxes and he wound up with a $20 million debt to the IRS. Harvey has told the story of how he took any job that came his way to pay off the massive debt.

“My accountant died, and an accountant that worked for him called my lawyer and said, ‘we have a problem,’” he said in an interview with Earn Your Leisure.

Today, he seems to have nearly everything under control as he continues to grown his empire. His latest venture is with TV personality Dr. Phil McGraw. The two have entered into a strategic partnership to launch one of the largest startup networks in recent history. Harvey has joined McGraw as an equity partner in McGraw’s Merit Street Media venture.

Photos (L-R, clockwise): 50 Cent via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/C6DS7HNui3d/Isaac Hayes via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/Crdf2WIOFmm/Nas via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/C1ki7XeP5i2/?hl=en/MCHammer via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/C3WhR9TrV7e/?hl=en/Mike Tyson via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/miketyson/Steve Harvey via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/iamsteveharveytv/?hl=en