As a noteworthy public figure, Al Sharpton has been in and out of the spotlight for decades. His work as a minister and human rights campaigner has led him into news and controversies on dozens of occasions. And his various campaigns for political positions have likewise added to his name recognition.
Is the Reverend rich?
While he has been in the public eye since the 1970s, and he has amassed a lot of wealth over the years, he has also had setbacks. Tax bills and campaign refunds have reduced the overall Al Sharpton net worth to a surprisingly low number. But you never know what this surprising character will do next, either with his finances or with his activism.
Al Sharpton Net Worth and Income
When you think about Al Sharpton, do you imagine a slick, wealthy preacher man hopping down from a luxury car to lead a protest? If you do, you’re not too far off from reality!
Sharpton has actually been an ordained minister since he was just a child. This has made him something of a sensation and a sought-after public figure for decades. It also hasn’t hurt his income any. At the same time, recent controversies, especially regarding taxes, have cut into his net worth.
While in the past, the reverend’s net worth has been estimated as high as $5 million, it’s not that high now. Despite owning luxury cars and an expensive home, plus having a 6-figure income, Al Sharpton also owes money in taxes.
So right now, Al Sharpton’s net worth is estimated at just $500,000 USD…
Where does his money come from? This is a multi-talented and much-in-demand figure in the public eye. For that reason, Al Sharpton commands a high price, whether it’s for hosting shows, making other appearances, or for speaking engagements.
He has been in demand as a reverend and a civil rights activist. Though it’s not always made public, he is often paid to appear at trials, protests, marches, and other civil rights events by interested stakeholders. His other main source of income is as a broadcaster.
Sharpton has hosted a political show on MSNBC, PoliticsNation, since 2011. In the past, that show paid him an annual salary of a cool $500,000, or half a million. However, that was when it was a daily show, and has since been reduced to a weekly program. Sharpton has hosted the radio show Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton daily since 2006.
In addition to these income streams…
Sharpton has also authored four books that bring some money in. He has made investments in real estate and in the stock market to help manage his personal fortune. And he once sued the city of New York after he was stabbed by an assailant, claiming that the police intentionally didn’t protect him. He won a settlement in that case of a not-so-insignificant $200,000.
With all of these different income streams, you’d expect Al Sharpton to simply be worth more. And in the past, he most certainly was. However, financial mismanagement and tax issues have rendered his rather large fortune into a pale comparison of what it once was.
Tax and Campaign Finance Issues
The perhaps a little bit naughty reverend has been in hot water over tax issues since the 90s. As a smart businessman, something he likely learned while working for James Brown, Sharpton holds control over several corporations. These include Raw Talent, a company he started and owns, which books him for speaking engagements, and Rev. Al Communications, which handles his media appearances.
So rather than just booking himself and getting paid directly as an individual, Sharpton runs his income through his personal for-profit companies. As you can guess, this actually leads to better tax rates and more profit left over for him. It also means that when there are issues, the corporations are on the hook and not necessarily the man himself.
However, just because you filter your income through a company doesn’t mean that you don’t need to pay taxes on it. As a very public figure, Sharpton’s finances have been scrutinized very closely. And starting in 1993, it was found that he or the company or both had been a bit naughty.
That year, both Sharpton personally and his company Raw Talent were both found to have avoided taxes but not filing in 1993. Again in 2008, it was discovered that Sharpton owed over a million dollars in federal and state taxes personally, and his Company Rev. Al Communications owed New York nearly $200,000. Again in 2010, the IRS was after Sharpton for over $500,000 in unpaid taxes.
Once again, in 2014…
Sharpton’s alleged tax avoidance was back in the news. It was reported that he owed state taxes and the IRS well over $4 million due to improper tax filings both personally and for his corporations.
On top of these tax owings, Sharpton also ran into issues with campaign finance. He has run for public office several times, most notably in the 2004 presidential election. That year he agreed to pay $100,000 back to the federal government since he put too much into his own campaign to keep so much federal funding. Later inspection into his campaign financing found that he had broken rules. So in 2009, he was fined an additional $285,000.
Are these just examples of the man trying to keep him down? Or does it reflect simple disrespect for the law?
They say there’s nothing sure but death and taxes, but Sharpton’s not too sure about taxes.
But one this is for sure. These tax and campaign funding issues have eaten away at the reverend’s net worth, leaving him with much less than his income would normally provide for.
Early Life and Education
Al Sharpton was born in New York City on the 3rd of October, 1954, making him currently 68 years old. His full-given birth name was Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr., after his father, who was the Sr. in the family. His mother was Ada Richards.
The family lived in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, and his father was very successful. He owned over 20 buildings and was able to provide a comfortable living for his family at the time. However, Al Jr’s father left his mother in 1963. Not only that, but he left with her 18-year-old daughter from her previous marriage – the couple would go on to have a baby together!
The fight begins…
So Sharpton’s mother was forced to move to Brownsville, Brooklyn, where the family lived in housing projects, and she had to work as a maid. Sharpton credits this as a major event in his life that made him angry and interested in fighting for rights and economic betterment.
He was a born minister, it would seem, as he began preaching at his family’s Pentecostal church as young as four years old. He would practice giving sermons to dolls and stuffed animals in the basement of the family house. And when he was nine years old, he was ordained as a minister in the Church of God.
Sharpton went to the Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn and graduated in 1973. He then continued his formal education at Brooklyn College; however, he studied for only two years before he dropped out to focus on his growing career as a preacher and an activist.
Finding a mentor…
As an outstanding young minister, Sharpton gained the attention of the famed Jessie Jackson, who became his mentor. Jackson had Sharpton appointed as a youth director for Operation Breadbasket in New York, and in 1971 helped him found the National Youth Movement, which raised money and fought against drug use in inner cities.
Sharpton got his first real taste of politics while still in high school. He was the youth director of the presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, who was the first black woman elected to Congress.
Al Sharpton’s Career
Already starting out as a fiery minister when he was just a child, Sharpton actually toured the country with Mahalia Jackson, the famed gospel blues singer. Watching her perform and giving his own sermons before large audiences gave him his first taste for the spotlight.
As a youth, he continued on as a minister, and his skills caught the attention of leaders like Jessie Jackson. However, Sharpton was also interested in show business.
Early on in his career, Sharpton worked as tour manager for the legendary James Brown between 1973-1980, and it gave him a solid start in business because he had to manage one of the biggest performers in the world. He also held Brown up as another mentor, someone who taught him responsibility, courage, and determination.
Through the rest of the 80s, Sharpton worked as a minister but also involved himself in the civil rights struggle as an increasingly prominent activist.
In 1991, Sharpton founded the non-profit activist organization the National Action Network. This group, closely associated with the Baptist church (of which Sharpton would become a minister in the 1990s), started in New York and spread out across the country.
Their goal was to focus on inequality and fight against discrimination and injustice. As the group’s leader, Sharpton appeared in many high-profile cases and trials, including the 1991 Crown Heights Riots, the 1999 shootings of Amadou Diallo and Tyisha Miller, and the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin.
Sharpton’s public persona as a furious social justice warrior caused him to gain a lot of followers but also make enemies. In fact, he was almost killed when he was stabbed in the chest in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, during a public protest of an attack on black youths in that area. He recovered but continued to invoke angry responses from those who disagreed with him throughout his career.
He has also used his anger at the state and what he viewed as systemic racism to urge protestors, sometimes being accused of turning situations into riots.
In more recent years, Sharpton’s anger has been tempered as he has seen his message of equality listened to. He has been commended by President Barrack Obama as a great civil rights leader and is now a respected speaker and political pundit.
Starting in 2005, Al Sharpton has been approached by various media outlets offering him a voice for his political views. He eventually settled on the Black Information Network affiliate station WWRL in New York to host a political talk show called Keepin’ It Real with Al Sharpton.
This show, which airs for two hours daily, gives Sharpton a platform to host leaders and influencers and discuss political issues and policies, largely those affecting equality and race relations. Since 2007, the show has been picked up and broadcast by Sirius XM.
Despite being a regular interviewee in political news, and contributing to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, it seemed the nation wanted more of Sharpton. After filling in for host Ed Shultz on his show, Sharpton was given his own 1-hour political show on MSNBC in 2011. This was a daily 1-hour show that discussed politics and current events with Sharpton as host. Since 2021, however, the show has been reduced to a once-weekly program.
Family and Personal Life
Rev. Al Sharpton was raised in the Pentecostal church and was ordained as a minister there when he was just a child. However, he moved to the Baptist church in the 1990s, becoming an ordained minister in 1994.
As James Brown’s tour manager, he met back up singer Kathy Jordan and began a relationship with her. The couple got married in 1980, and they have two daughters, Dominique and Ashley. Sharpton and his wife, though still legally married, separated in 2004.
Al Sharpton has run for political office multiple times, though he has never succeeded in his campaigns. He ran for the US Senate in 1992 and 94, Mayor of New York in 1997, and President of the US in 2004.
Sharpton has published four books, including Rise Up, The Rejected Stone, Righteous Troublemakers, and his autobiography Go and Tell Pharaoh.
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OK, back to…
Al Sharpton Net Worth Summarized
Al Sharpton is a legendary speaker and activist. From his beginnings as a youth minister to his long career as a civil rights organizer, he has remained in the public eye and has been a big force in politics. More recently, his views and opinions have won him a following on radio and on TV.
But he also has detractors, and many controversies have followed his career. He has also been in the spotlight for tax issues, most especially for not paying them. Despite his income, his tax owings have pulled down his net worth so that it’s currently estimated at $500,000. But with income continuing to roll in, this number is likely to rise in the near future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How did Al Sharpton become a civil rights activist?
Al Sharpton began his activism as a youth minister and mentee of Jesse Jackson. He became heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the 1980s and 1990s and has since become one of the most recognizable figures in the movement.
How much money does Al Sharpton make?
Al Sharpton reportedly makes around $750,000 a year from his various endeavors, including his TV show, his National Action Network organization, and speaking engagements.
What is Al Sharpton’s net worth?
Al Sharpton’s net worth is estimated to be around $5 million.
What is the National Action Network?
The National Action Network is a civil rights organization founded by Al Sharpton in 1991. Its mission is to fight for social and racial justice for all Americans.
What TV shows has Al Sharpton been on?
Al Sharpton hosts “Politics Nation” on MSNBC and has had talk shows on the radio.
What properties does Al Sharpton own?
Al Sharpton owns several properties, including a $350,000 house in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and a $1.16 million apartment in New York City.
Has Al Sharpton ever been accused of wrongdoing?
Yes, Al Sharpton has been accused of wrongdoing in the past, including his involvement in the Tawana Brawley case and allegations of tax evasion. However, no charges were ever filed against him in either case.
What has Al Sharpton accomplished through his activism?
Al Sharpton has spent his life fighting for social and racial justice. Through his activism and media presence, he has brought attention to issues affecting the African-American community and helped to effect change.
What is Al Sharpton’s relationship with the Democratic Party?
Al Sharpton has been a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party and has worked closely with Democratic politicians throughout his career. He endorsed Barack Obama in both of his presidential campaigns.
What is Al Sharpton’s relationship with the media?
Al Sharpton is a media figure in addition to his activism. He has hosted talk shows on the radio and currently hosts “Politics Nation” on MSNBC.
What is the significance of Al Sharpton’s activism?
Al Sharpton’s activism is significant because it has helped to bring attention to issues affecting the African-American community. He has been a prominent figure in the civil rights movement for decades and has worked tirelessly to effect change.
How has Al Sharpton’s activism evolved over the years?
Al Sharpton’s activism has evolved over the years, from his controversial involvement in the Tawana Brawley case in the 1980s to his more mainstream activism in recent years. However, he has remained an outspoken figure throughout his career, regardless of the controversies that have surrounded him.
What is Al Sharpton’s role in the 21st-century civil rights movement?
Al Sharpton continues to be a prominent figure in the 21st-century civil rights movement, using his media presence and activism to bring attention to important social and racial justice issues affecting Americans today.
What is Al Sharpton’s vision for the future?
Al Sharpton’s vision for the future is one of a just and equitable society, where all Americans have access to basic rights and freedoms regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.