Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift And Ava DuVernay: The Most Powerful Women In Entertainment 2021

Nine months ago, during her CBS Primetime special featuring what would be a controversial sit-down interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about their departure from the Royal Family, Oprah Winfrey asked Meghan Markle, “Were you silent? Or were you silenced?”

17.1 million viewers tuned in to the special that night, sparking a global conversation—from the ruthlessness of the press to alleged racism behind closed doors in Windsor Castle—and marking a turning point in history. Ranked at No. 23 on Forbes’ 2021 Most Powerful Women list, Winfrey has built a net worth of $2.6 billion by crafting such moments and building an empire around them.

Whether they’re in the spotlight or strategizing how to shift with the media landscape behind the scenes, the 13 other entertainers and media magnates who join Winfrey on The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list are changing the way stories are told.

In streaming, Nigerian visionary Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife became the first African production company to score a multi-title deal with Netflix last year to create two series and several films. Ava DuVernay continued to forge new partnerships for ARRAY, her collective focused on films by people of color and women; she signed a multiyear deal with Spotify in January for a slate of exclusive scripted and unscripted podcast shows. In August, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, which was founded in 2016 to tell women-driven stories, sold a majority stake to a Blackstone-backed media company, making her net worth $400 million.

The women leading traditional major media companies went back to the drawing board. Under CEO Ann Sarnoff, WarnerMedia moved to release the entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters—which seemed risky at the time. But she came out victorious; the streaming service ended March with a combined 63.9 million worldwide subscribers as films like ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ found success in the box office, making hundreds of millions in the worldwide box office. Fox News, helmed by CEO Suzanne Scott, launched a 24/7 weather streaming service in October—its app saw 28 million page views during its first week—to top off a winning year for the cable network.

Meanwhile, women took the music world by storm in 2021. Rihanna made history by becoming the richest female musician on the planet, joining the billionaires’ club with a net worth of $1.7 billion thanks to the success of her cosmetics line Fenty Beauty. Taylor Swift embarked on her journey to re-record her first six albums, which are already degrading her original catalog that was purchased without her involvement in 2019 and adding value to a body of work that she owns outright—making her increasingly richer. Beyoncé became the most decorated female artist in Grammy history after winning Best R&B Performance for “Black Parade,” Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for her feature on the “Savage” remix, and Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl,” which brought her grand total to 28 awards.

See the full list of the most powerful women in media and entertainment below, along with their ranks on the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list:

No. 23: Oprah Winfrey

No. 31: Shari Redstone, Chairman, ViacomCBS

No. 50: Dana Walden, Chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television

No. 54: Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios

No. 56: Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group

No. 61: Suzanne Scott, CEO, Fox News

No. 63: Ann Sarnoff, Chair & CEO, Warner Media Studios & Networks Group

No. 68: Rihanna

No. 74: Reese Witherspoon

No. 76: Beyoncé

No. 78: Taylor Swift

No. 80: Ava DuVernay, Founder, ARRAY

No. 85: Serena Williams

No. 98: Mo Abudu, Founder, EbonyLife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *