made his directorial debut with The Antwone Fisher Story, which opened at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival.
Big Break: Played Dr. Phillip Chandler on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere (1982â€“88).
Title: Principal, Wayans Bros.
Why He’s Powerful: Wayans continues to demonstrate his power to get his projects into production and on the air. He cocreated, executive produces, and stars in the ABC television sitcom My Wife and Kids, one of the networks highest-rated programs. Through his first production company, Wife ‘N Kids Productions, he created such successful big screen vehicles as Mo Money and Major Payne, as well as the Fox Television series Damon. He and his brothers are looking at other major projects to create more profitable franchises.
Career Track: Wayans co-starred in and wrote for the critically acclaimed, Emmy-Award-winning series In Living Color. He began his career in 1982, touring the comedy club circuit.
Big Break: After graduating from the ensemble comedy shows In Living Color (where he created characters such as Homey the Clown) and Saturday Night Live, Wayans launched a successful film career.
KEENAN IVORY WAYANS
Title: Principal, Wayans Bros. Productions
Education: Tuskegee University
Why He’s Powerful: After directing the surprise box office hit Scary Movie, the highest grossing film ever directed by an African American, Wayans followed his success by directing Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movi
e 3. Such projects have established Wayans as a shrewd businessman and a hot property in Hollywood, and expanded the clout of Wayans Bros. Productions.
Career Track: Wayans created, directed, and won an Emmy for his TV comedy skit show In Living Color. Wayans also developed Low Down Dirty Shame, Most Wanted, and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.
RONALD “SLIM” AND BRYAN “BABY” WILLIAMS
Title: Co-CEOs, Cash Money Records
Why They’re Powerful: Ronald “Slim” and Bryan “Baby” Williams have been able to do what few entrepreneurs in the music industry have achieved: the ability to call their own shots. When their record label, Cash Money Records (CMR), inked a lucrative distribution deal with Universal Records, the brothers’ bargaining power came from the fact that their independent hip-hop label had already sold more than 20 million records since it was formed in 1991. They’ve also managed to amass one of the tightest crews of rappers in the industry and generate additional revenues through straight-to-video movies featuring their rap star line-up. CMR is credited with originating the term “bling bling.”
Career Track: Hailing from New Orleans, the Williams brothers converted their hobby of making music into a full-fledged business. By 1992 the year-old enterprise released Sixth and Barrone and Uptown for Life, which collectively sold more than 60,000 units throughout the South. The company became a national phenomenon when it added hot rappers B.G., Juvenile, and the Hot Boys to their roster. In 1998 they struck the deal with Universal.
Title: Chairman, Harpo Inc.
Education: Tennessee State University
Why She’s Powerful: As host and supervising producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Winfrey’s influence is felt far beyond the world of television. She has established herself as one of the most