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Media, Publishing & Entertainment


Darcus Beese


Co-President, Island Records Group


Darcus remains the most powerful black individual in UK music after being appointed co-president of Island’s parent group of labels three years ago. He oversees the day-to-day running of a company that houses stars such as U2, Mary J Blige, Paul Weller and Akon. His story is a classic case of starting from the bottom and rising to the top. Darcus went, quite literally, from being a tea boy at the legendary Island Records to becoming one of the music industry’s most respected A&R directors. In 2003 he signed five-time Grammy winner the late Amy Winehouse, who sold an incredible11m albums. A year earlier he had signed Sugababes and orchestrated their reinvention into one of Britain’s most successful girl groups. When he took over as co-president with marketing man Ted Cockle in April 2008, Island was celebrating its 50th anniversary. The artists he oversees, such as Jessie J and Taio Cruz, continue to prosper. Cruz’s hit single, Dynamite, became the best-selling single in the history of Island Def Jam, after passing 5m sales in the US. One of seven siblings, Darcus grew up in Fulham, west London and is the son of the veteran TV broadcaster Darcus Howe.


Noel Clarke Actor/Director/Screenwriter


Noel’s infl uence lies not only in the fact he has made an indelible mark on a generation of British youth, penning, directing and starring in fi lms such as Kidulthood, Adulthood and 4,3,2,1, but also that he has managed to maintain this relevance with an audience known to be fi ckle. Be it in terms of viewers being able to relate to his work, actors using a role in his works as a career stepping stone, or for fi lmmakers being inspired to follow in his footsteps, his infl uence is undisputed. His recent off ering, Fast Girls (2012), about female athletes, ranked well in the UK Box Offi ce Top 10. Months aſt er the Powerlist fi rst featured him some years ago as one to watch he was named Baſt a’s Rising Star 2009, becoming the fi rst black British male in the awards’ 62-year history to be given the honour. Noel has picked up the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer (2003) for his role in the play Where Do We Live, and has enjoyed meaty roles in high-profi le TV shows such as Doctor Who. On the big screen he has also starred in fi lms such as Huge, alongside T andie Newton. He has recently completed a role in the forthcoming Star Trek Into T e Darkness movie, which is set to be a box-offi ce hit.


Malorie Blackman Author


Malorie is one of Britain’s most successful and infl uential contemporary children’s book authors. She is the fi rst black British writer to sell over a million books. T e award-winning author of more than 50 works has been called a ‘national treasure’. Her cleverly written novel Noughts and Crosses (which forms part of a series), won the 2002 Children’s Book Award and was voted one the nation’s 100 favourite books in the BBC Big Read survey. Both Hacker and T ief! won the Young Telegraph/Gimme 5 Award – Malorie is the only author to have won this award twice – while Hacker also won the WH Smith Mind-Boggling Books Award in 1994. A talented scriptwriter and sometime playwright, she also has numerous credits for children’s programmes, such as Byker Grove, while the adaptation of her book Pig Heart Boy won a Baſt a for Best Children’s Drama. In 2004 she also wrote Cloud Busting, a novel entirely in verse, which won a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Silver Award) the same year. In 2005 Malorie was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her contribution to the world of children’s books. In 2008, she was honoured with an OBE for her services to Children’s Literature.


Kwadjo Dajan TV producer, Baſt a winner


Producer Kwadjo Dajan has been quietly making waves behind the scenes in the TV industry for years but aſt er winning four BAFTA’s – including the Break-T rough Talent Award – for his fi rst drama ITV1’s Appropriate Adult, which was based on the true story of serial killer Fred West, he’s proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Kwadjo’s responsible for producing the channel’s compelling dramas and it’s his passion for his craſt that saw him jump on a plane to Australia for a coff ee meeting with an ‘interesting character’ – Charmain Biggs. T e gamble paid off and Mrs Biggs – based on the story of the fi rst wife of the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs – is ITV1’s fl agship Autumn drama. Anyone not familiar with the Leeds graduate’s name will defi nitely be familiar with the shows he’s worked on during his 16 years in the business, including BBC1’s Airport, Channel 4’s A New Life Down Under, ITV1’s Holiday Airport: Cyprus as well as Sky One’s Football Icons and Big Ron Manager – which also earned him a Royal Television Society Award for the Best Sports series. T e exceptional producer got his break in TV at the age of 17 when he applied for a mentoring scheme run by the BBC. It provided him with valuable work experience and kick- started a journey that was to lead to his remarkable achievements.


WWW.POWERFUL-MEDIA.COM | POWERLIST 2013 39


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