moves. He holds seats on both the powerful House Budget and Financial Services committees. Next stop: Ford has his sights on a run for the U.S. Senate in 2006.
Film Director & Producer Age: 37
Fuqua confirmed his place as a young leading film director with Training Day, which starred Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role. He is the director in demand, working with Bruce Willis on Tears of the Sun and the upcoming blockbuster for Disney’s Touchstone Films, King Arthur. His production company, Reel Power, is scheduled to produce the film Family Reunion.
F. Gary Gray
Film Director & Producer Age: 33
Gray, a former music video director, made his directorial film debut in 1995 with the hit comedy Friday, which was made for $3.5 million and grossed $27.4 million at the box office. Gray also directed this year’s The Italian Job, which has seen more than $100 million in box office sales. He is currently directing the MGM film Be Cool, which stars John Travolta and is scheduled to be released in 2004.
Comedian & Executive Producer Age: 2
The star of the critically acclaimed Chappelle’s Show, which airs on the Comedy Central cable television network, didn’t just want laughs, he wanted control. Thought by some to possess certain artistic characteristics of comedic legends Richard Pryor and George Carlin, Chappelle’s ambition and brand of in-your-face humor produced one of cable TV’s biggest hits. He is adroitly leveraging his success and turning himself into one of the hottest brands in comedy. In addition to his cable TV show and his growing popularity on the big screen, his comedy tour Dave Chappelle is Blackzilla, is one of this year’s best-selling comedy tours. It sold out in 65 markets and grossed $3.5 million.
Melissa “Missy Misdemeanor” Elliott
Recording Artist & Music Producer Age: 32
Missy is a multitalented executive who has worked with everyone from Whitney Houston to Justin Timberlake. She’s produced and wrote a slew of diverse hits for other superstars, including Destiny’s Child, Janet Jackson, and Christina Aguilera. The two-time Grammy award winner is a platinum-plus recording artist in her own right and released her fifth studio album, This is Not a Test, in November. Missy’s career took off after she wrote seven tracks for Aaliyah’s 1996 album One in a Million, which went multiplatinum. Elektra Entertainment CEO Sylvia Rhone quickly offered Missy a production deal and a label of her own, The Goldmind Inc. Missy also takes time to give back to the community as the national spokesperson for Break the Cycle, a nonprofit organization working with young people between the ages of 12 and 22 to end domestic violence.
Scientist Age: 31
This scientist-cum-entrepreneur is on the front line in the war against cancer. As CEO of Gene Network Sciences, Hill and his team use data from the human genome project to create data-driven computer simulations of the disease. His company’s innovative research allows pharmaceutical companies to forecast the effects of new drugs before clinical trials, saving billions of dollars in revenue.
Jesse Jackson Jr.