jobs, opportunities, and creative outlets for many aspiring talents in the industry. “The long-term goal is to be a relevant entertainment brand,” Friday offers, “similar to Motown. They developed talent, made a lot of people rich, and became an international brand.” — Sonia Alleyne
Douglas V. Holloway President, Cable Investments,NBC Universal Cable o Age: 52 Why he’s powerful: Holloway is responsible for seeking new investments and identifying strategic initiatives as well as managing NBC Universal’s joint cable ventures, which include A&E Networks, NBC Weather Plus, and the Sundance Channel. The 27-year veteran has held a variety of key positions in sales and strategic planning. He currently serves on several industry boards, including Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing and the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson Actor-Producer Age: 37 Why he’s powerful: Over the past decade, rapper-actor Ice Cube (born O’Shea Jackson) has become more than another film producer. Through his production company, Cube Vision, he’s created blockbuster franchises: His trilogy of Friday movies collectively grossed roughly $118 million; his two Barbershop films and the spin-off, Beauty Shop, grossed more than $177 million; and the movie Are We There Yet? grossed about $83 million, sparking a sequel, Are We Done Yet?, which hits theaters this year. His reality television show, Black. White., drew roughly 4 million total viewers and became the highest-rated cable series premiere for adults 18–49 for the 2005–06 season.
Samuel L. Jackson Actor-Producer Age: 58 Why he’s powerful: Jackson is clearly one of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood. He delivers great performances on screen and at the box office. In fact, his films, which include Coach Carter, and The Incredibles, have grossed a whopping $2.1 billion. He’s in such demand that if his name is attached to a project, a studio will develop it — which explains how New Line Cinema’s Snakes on a Plane got made. Now Jackson, who in 1994 earned an Oscar nomination for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s hit film Pulp Fiction, has signed a two-year first-look deal with New Line and has launched a new production company, Bushwazee Films.
Debra Lee/Reginald Hudlin Chairman & CEO/President of Entertainment,BET Ages: 51/45 Why they’re powerful: The two have taken the largest black-oriented media network, which reaches more than 83 million black households, into uncharted territory. Lee has initiated a strategic plan that has revamped BET’s offerings, and moved the company into digital distribution of content. She hired filmmaker Hudlin, who has introduced a slate of new original programming and awards shows, giving BET the highest ratings in its 26-year history. Audience growth came from such programs as the docudrama American Gangster and reality series featuring hip-hop stars Lil Kim, Keyshia Cole, and DMX.
Robert L. Johnson/Tracey E. Edmonds Founder/President & COO, Our Stories Films Ages: 61/37 They’re the dynamic duo who launched the first major black film studio. In 2006, Johnson, the cable television maverick who founded BET, hammered out a deal with Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to develop Our Stories Films, a company charged