The Hot List

These bold innovators--all under the age of 40--are shaping our world

a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, and Daddy’s Little Girls—have grossed more than $100 million in domestic box office receipts. Perry has struck gold in other media: His first book, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, remained at the top of The New York Times Best Seller List for 12 weeks and won him two Quill Awards. He also snared an unprecedented $200 million, 100-episode deal with TBS for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Perry also recently launched a talk show on TV One.

Brian Parker, Vice President of Emerging Markets & New Business Development
Choice Hotels International / 32. Why he’s hot: As vice president of emerging markets and new business development, Parker continues to grow Choice Hotels’ minority-owned franchises. Under his leadership, the hotel chain has increased its number of franchise agreements with minority and non-lodging entrepreneurs by an impressive 25%, adding 45 new minority franchises—30 of which are owned by African Americans. Choice attributes much of its success to an initiative managed by Parker: a Website launched in 2006 that introduced hotel franchising to minority business owners. Now, he’s charged with expanding Choice’s brand awareness and distribution throughout the Caribbean.

Steve Pamon. Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution & Strategic Partnerships / Home Box Office / 37. Why he’s hot: Pamon has built his career on identifying and implementing new marketing and distribution platforms. In his current role, he leads a team charged with building a worldwide digital distribution business around HBO’s original programming, including such programs as The Sopranos, Entourage, and The Wire. Pamon is directly responsible for all relationships with digital partners such as AT&T, Apple, and Google/YouTube. Prior to assuming his current role in March, he served as vice president of strategic partnerships for Affiliate Sales and Marketing, developing new relationships, products, and services to increase HBO’s value to cable, satellite, and video distributors.

John Legend, Singer / 29. Why he’s hot: Legend, a renaissance performer who sings, produces, plays several instruments, and arranges tunes, is living up to his billing. In fact, the five-time Grammy Award winner walked away with two in 2007, one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Heaven” and another for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Family Affair,” a cover of the Sly & The Family Stone hit in which he teamed up with songstress Joss Stone. His solo career has been red-hot since the release of his debut album, Get Lifted, which was certified platinum by the RIAA and earned three Grammys in 2006. His follow-up, Once Again, also went platinum. Legend has also become a high-profile humanitarian. He launched the Show Me Campaign, which has the mission of fighting poverty across the globe, and recently joined the (PRODUCT) RED Gap Campaign, a for-benefit brand developed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. —Sheiresa McRae

Dana “Queen Latifah” Owens, Singer, Actress / 37. Why she’s hot: All hail to the Queen who has seamlessly made the transition from rapper-singer to actress

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