sold more than 50 million albums and has amassed 33 multiplatinum, platinum, and gold certifications in the past six years. And the operation has been largely a family affair. His roster includes his brothers, Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder, as well as his son, Lil Romeo, and himself. (The two earned the distinction of being the first father and son to go multiplatinum in the hip-hop arena.) To shore up the company, the New Orleans native recently entered into a distribution agreement with Universal Records.
Career Track: Miller used $10,000 from a legal settlement to open his No Limit Record Store, the base from which to independently sell 350,000 copies of his first two self-produced albums, 99 Ways To Die and The Ghetto’s Tryin’ To Kill Me. In 1996 Miller made a distribution and manufacturing agreement with Los Angeles-based Priority Records under which No Limit would receive 85% of the profits and retain 100% ownership of the master recordings, allowing the company to profit from catalogs and reissues. Miller replicated this business model when he started his film division.
DARRELL D. MILLER
Title: Managing Partner, Miller & Pliakas
Education: B.F.A., College Conservatory of Music University of Cincinnati; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
Why He’s Powerful: As managing partner of the Los Angeles-based firm, Miller & Pliakas, he practices transactional law with an emphasis on the motion picture, television, and music industries. His diverse group of clients includes individuals such as Master P as well as larger corporations like Time Life Television/Video and de Passe Entertainment. Among Miller’s recent efforts has been the negotiation of a package of motion picture deals for rap star DMX with Warner Bros. Pictures. Also, he is the only African American on the board of governors of the Academy of Arts & Sciences, which coordinates the Oscars and Emmys.
Career Track: Prior to launching his law firm in 1996, Miller worked with an international law firm representing business executives, entertainment production companies, and performing artists.
Title: President & CEO, Eddie Murphy Productions
Education: Nassau College
Why He’s Powerful: Since starring in his first movie 20 years ago, Murphy’s compilation of films has grossed more than a billion dollars, and by any standard, this commercial success makes him one of Hollywood’s most bankable black leading stars. With this distinction comes a notoriety and privilege that normally takes the ordinary filmmaker half a lifetime to establish. He may have had unsuccessful films, but he managed to emerge with his directorial debut gangster film Harlem Nights, which helped to launch his production company. Through his company, Murphy has developed and produced a string of projects for both the silver screen and television, including the 1990 TV movie The Kid Who Loved Christmas and the CBS sitcom The Royal Family. His efforts established highly successful film franchises such as The Nutty Professor and Dr. Doolittle.
Career Track: At 15, Murphy started his career as a stand-up comedian.
Big Break: In 1980 he auditioned for Saturday Night Live and was cast as an occasional performer. However, his performances