They're the women game changers making moves behind the scenes. From entertainment to the military, see the 10 African-American shot callers we're keeping our eyes on in 2013.
Mara Brock Akil
A seasoned writer and producer, Brock Akil is currently one of the most successful Black women on television (besides Shonda Rhimes), having created hit shows like Girlfriends, The Game, and, in 2013, Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union. In 2012, the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honoree and her husband, director Salim Akil, became the first African-American couple to write, direct and produce a major studio film when they remade the 1976 classic Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in her final acting role.
Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/ Getty
Salaam Coleman Smith
As president of the Style Network, Coleman Smith is at the helm of leading the fastest-growing cable network for women. Under her leadership, Coleman Smith has been responsible for shows like Tia and Tamera, Jerseylicious, and Big Rich Texas.
Photo by Ray Tamarra/ Getty Images
Avril M. King
King is Master Gunnery Sergeant is a high-rank officer in the U. S. Marine Corps and currently serves as the Senior Enlisted Marine Corps Advisor to the Department of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
Lauren Maillian Blas
Described as a "serial entrepreneur" by Fast Company, Lauren Maillian Bias is the founder of Luxury Marketing Branding and founding partner of Gen Y Capital Partners, a venture firm focused on growing early-stage tech companies founded by Gen-Y entrepreneurs. Blas is the former founder of Sugarleaf Vineyards, the only winery owned and operated by African-Americans in Virginia.
Photo by Lauren Maillian Bias/ Facebook
Bond is a celebrity DJ and founder of Black Girls Rock!, Inc, a nonprofit mentoring organization that aims to empower young women of color and combat negative stereotypes of Black women in the media. She's also the executive producer of the star-studded BET Black Girls Rock! awards show.
Photo by David Livingston/ Getty
Tamika D. Mallory, 32
Tamika D. Mallory
Though she's the name behind one of the most polarizing reality show franchises, VH1's Love and Hip Hop, Mona Scott-Young is slowly building her TV empire through her Monami production house. Next up, the TV veteran is creating a reality show for Bravo called Taking Atlanta.
Photo by Johnny Nunez/ Getty
Internet entrepreneur Angela Benton is making her mark in the tech industry as the brains behind three web-based startups: Cued, BlackWeb 2.0 and NewMe Accelarator, an “incubator” for minority-owned tech startups.
Zuhairah Scott Washington
Zuhairah Scott Washington is the founder of Kahnoodle, a mobile app that helps busy couples keep their love strong by providing a "relationship dashboard" to track how well each partner is meeting the other's needs. “We focus on building intimacy with couples,” Scott Washington recently told the Washington Post. "People think of technology as a barrier to great relationships. But my vision is allowing technology to be a bridge."