and Brown Sugar.
Title: Chairman and CEO,Rush Communications
Education: City College of New York
Why He’s Powerful: Simmons oversees all ventures of the company including those in music, television, fashion, film, talent management, publishing (One World magazine), and marketing/advertising.
Career Track: In 1984, Simmons cofounded Def Jam Recordings. Def Jam’s roster began with LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, and Public Enemy. Simmons also acted as associate producer for the film Krush Groove. He was also involved in several other films and began producing Def Comedy Jam for HBO in 1991. He also founded the Phat Farm clothing brand, which has branched out into Baby Phat for ladies and Phat Farm boys and Baby Phat Girls.
Big Break: While still at the City College of New York, Simmons saw his first rap show in 1977 and soon began promoting his own shows, managing artists, and producing records. In the early ’80s, the roster of his Rush Artist Management included hit-makers such as: Whodini, Kurtis Blow, and Run-DMC.
Title: CEO, Amen Ra Films
Education: B.A., State University of New York at Purchase
Why He’s Powerful: Hollywood still bets on Snipes. In fact, his Amen Ra Films has been one of Hollywood’s most prolific production companies. With a cumulative domestic gross box office of close to $1 billion over the past decade, Snipes is able to get the attention of studio execs. In recent years he has developed a wide range of projects from romantic dramas to action adventure films. What has given Snipes the most clout of late is his Blade films. Amen Ra purchased the rights to the comic book property and developed two films that have collectively grossed more than $250 million worldwide.
Career Track: The Orlando, Florida, native’s star began to rise in 1991 when he played a volatile gangster in New Jack City. Studio execs took notice that the film, budgeted at $8.5 million, grossed $47.6 million. His next two films, Passenger 57 and White Men Can’t Jump, would also prove to be box office hits. Snipes created Amen Ra to develop new feature film and television vehicles.
DENZEL W ASHINGTON
Title: CEO, Mundy Lane Entertainment
Education: B.A., Fordham University; American Conservatory Theater.
Why He’s Powerful: Washington has been featured in a diverse collection of films over his illustrious acting career. He is one of the highest paid and most powerful actors in Hollywood, and is reportedly receiving $20 million for his upcoming film Out of Time. Washington also owns his own production company, which produced Devil in a Blue Dress and a slate of other television and motion picture projects. His clout has increased with a recent string of movies that have grossed more than $100 million each at the box office.
Career Track: Since his Academy Award nominated portrayal of Steve Biko in Cry Freedom in 1987, Washington has established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading men. With two Oscars and several Golden Globe awards under his belt, he has also made a name for himself as a major producer. He