A few years ago, Curtis â€ś50 Centâ€ť Jackson wasnâ€™t a name most would associate with Black Enterprise. Truthfully, thereâ€™s probably a good sector of those who still donâ€™t see the correlation. But with an impressive business portfolio that includes his G-Unit Records, G-Unit Apparel, Cheetah Vision Films, ThisIs50.com social media site, G-Unity Foundation, vitaminwater, G-Unit Books, Power by Fifty Cent fragrance, and a bankable brand that brings his net worth to an estimated $200 million, itâ€™s no wonder Jackson is on the cover of our January 2011 issue.
Despite his tough guy â€śgangsta rapâ€ť image, Jackson is an equally imposing businessman, recently striking a 10-picture deal for his Cheetah Vision Films worth a reported $200 million. While the music industryÂ served asÂ his launching pad, Jackson wisely has spread his wings in various directions; but the most interesting is his successful foray into Hollywood. While the rapper-turned-actor transition is clichĂ©, Jackson has shown a genuine interest in the business of making movies that has him not only acting, but producing, writing and directing as well.
Since his 2005 acting debut in the semi-autobiographical Get Rich or Die Tryinâ€™, Jackson has appeared in 10 films (including independent and major releases), secured six additional roles currently in pre- or post-production, produced five projects, written four screenplays and directed his first film, 2009â€™s straight to DVD release, Before I Self Destruct. Not bad for a guy from the streets of Queens, NY who was known more for getting shot than shooting movies.
While Iâ€™m sure Jacksonâ€™s ideal (along with many other actors) is to be the next Will Smith, I think thereâ€™s a better correlation between his career trajectory and another Jacksonâ€”Ice Cube, born Oâ€™Shea Jackson. Aside from having the same last name, 50 Cent and Ice Cube have a lot of similarities, namely, their image makeovers. Cube came out in 1988 as one-fifth of the highly controversial rap group N.W.A., and letâ€™s just say he had a serious â€śattitudeâ€ť problem. Still, the gangsta rap pioneer who dubbed himself the â€śn**** you love to hateâ€ť has somehow transformed into the on-screen father figure you just love. Gone are the scowls (well, mostly) and the gangstafied roles, and in their place are wide smiles and family-oriented film franchises like Barbershop and Are We There Yet?, which spawned a TBS sitcom series this past June. Cube is more Dr. Huxtable than Dr. Dre these days.
While 50 still acts tough on camera, heâ€™s definitely softened his image in an effort to be more mainstream and show his range as an actor. Earlier this year images of an emaciated-looking Jackson hit the Internet, revealing the amount of weight he shed for his role of a cancer-stricken football player in next yearâ€™s Things Fall Apart. Although 50 has yet to score a true blockbuster film and a majority of his projects have been straight to DVD releases, heâ€™s clearly taking his acting career seriously. And with $200 million being thrown his way, someone in Hollywood definitely sees the potential.
As unlikely as it would seem for Ice Cube to go from a mere rapper to a bankable Hollywood commodity with 26 films, 18 producer credits (including four TV shows) and seven writing credits on his resume, thatâ€™s his reality. Sure, 50 Cent isnâ€™t going the wholesome route, but if he continues playing his cards right and brokering multi-million dollar deals the way he has,Â he just might be Hollywoodâ€™s next “big thing.” If he isnâ€™t already.
Do you think that 50 Cent has the potential to be a true Hollywood star or is he just banking on his music popularity?
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