shines brighter, he is expected to become one of the NFL’s top endorsers. He also gives back through his Touching Lives Foundation, which awards scholarships to college-bound students.
Steve Stoute, Founder, Chairman / Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging / 37.
Why he’s hot: The former music exec that helped launch Mariah Carey, Will Smith, and Nas is the marketing guru major corporations come to when they want to reach urban audiences. He’s the mastermind behind the repositioning of brands and development of hip hop-infused campaigns for McDonald’s, General Motors, Reebok and Microsoft. In fact, Stoute’s campaigns have demonstrated why industry analysts identify him as one of the leaders of entertainment marketing. His next big deal: At press time, he was close to selling his firm to Interpublic Group of Cos., the $6.2 billion advertising juggernaut. Stoute also owns a stake in Carol’s Daughter, the ethnic personal and beauty care products manufacturer, and has developed a strategy to promote the product line as a national brand in 2008.
Kara Walker, Artist / 38. Why she’s hot: Widely known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes that examine sex, race, and power in America, Walker is considered one of the most complex and prolific American artists of her generation. Her current collection, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, is on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her other works have been exhibited at some of the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. At 27, Walker was one of the youngest recipients of the coveted John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, known as the “genius grant.”
Shane and Shawn Ward, President & Co-Founder; Creative Director & Co-Founder / Detny by SHANE&SHAWN / 34. Why they’re hot: Identical twins Shane and Shawn Ward designed footwear for such companies as Fila, Reebok, and Puma before launching their own collections in 2003. After making $1.5 million in revenues in 2006, the designers took their company, Detny by SHANE&SHAWN, public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2007, where it has a market cap of $13.5 million. Using capital from the IPO, the brothers expanded their offerings, including the dressier SHANE&SHAWN, which retails for $220 to $350 a pair. Their footwear is currently sold in 75 independent boutiques nationwide and through major retail outlets like Nordstrom, Macy’s, DSW, and MGM/Mirage Casinos.
Kanye West, Music Producer, Rapper / 30. Why he’s hot: West recently created industry buzz with a hot marketing campaign–a public feud with 50 Cent to determine who would earn the crown as the king of hip-hop. When the two artists’ albums were released on Sept. 11, the outspoken rapper emerged victorious; his third album, Graduation, moved 957,000 copies in its first week, outselling his rival by almost 300,000 units. West is now focused on managing his own record label, GOOD Music–which has R&B crooner John Legend, veteran rapper Common, and former Diddy assistant Fonzworth Bentley on