The Hot List

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

follow-up to his hit show, Wild N’ Out; a collaboration with Quincy Jones, one of the industry’s godfathers, to develop Nickelodeon’s Star Camp, a reality show featuring talented teens; and Extra Protection, an action comedy in development, for which he wrote the original script and is set to produce with his idol Will Smith. In May, Cannon was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival as the Breakthrough Actor of the Year for his performance in the 2006 film Bobby, which retells the story of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. He is the first African American actor ever to receive this award.

Kawanna Brown, Chief Operating Officer Magic Johnson Cos. / 34. Why she’s hot: Brown is the engine behind Magic Johnson Cos., which is worth $700 million. She spends her days negotiating licensing, endorsement, asset acquisition, and partnership deals with the nation’s largest corporations, including Lincoln Mercury, Burger King, and Best Buy. She is responsible for oversight of the sprawling operations of Magic Johnson’s holdings, which cross the lines of real estate, entertainment, and philanthropy and include movie theatres, fitness centers, T.G.I. Friday’s and Starbucks franchises. It is Brown who also develops the campaigns and partnerships that have made the Magic Johnson name one of urban America’s premier brands. Prior to being named to her current position, Brown was president of the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Edwidge Danticat. Author / 38. Why she’s hot: This best-selling author’s name is no stranger to
the literati. Danticat’s first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, was an Oprah Book Club selection. Her latest novel, Brother, I’m Dying, was released to critical acclaim in September and at press time was a finalist for the National Book Award for nonfiction. In fact, a The New York Times review characterized her latest tome as “a fierce, haunting book about exile and loss and family love.” Danticat has been nominated for numerous literary prizes, winning the American Book Award for The Farming of Bones and the first The Story Prize for The Dew Breaker, among others. Her novels and short stories have been translated into several languages, including German, French, Spanish, and Korean. —Sonya A. Donaldson

Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor / District of Columbia / 37. Why he’s hot: In 2006, Fenty became the fifth—and youngest—elected mayor of the District of Columbia, winning every precinct in both primary and general elections and capturing 89% of the general-election vote. Today, he is pushing his mandate, improving the city’s national and
international standing. During his first year in office, Fenty’s impact has been felt, particularly in the city’s public schools system. With education as his top priority, Fenty unveiled the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007—a plan for his administration to take over responsibility for managing D.C.’s public schools—during his first week at City Hall. By June, the legislation passed, enabling Fenty to put new leadership in place. Fenty also made good on his economic promises. He’s appointed an affordable housing coordinator, introduced a strategy for workforce development, and secured commitments from Washington First Bank and Bank

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