Hollywood's Undercover Hitmakers: Salim and Mara Brock Akil

Hollywood's Undercover Hitmakers: Salim and Mara Brock Akil
This story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. When Mara Brock Akil was a girl of 11, in November 1981, she saw a copy of Seventeen with Whitney Houston on the cover. The future pop icon wasn't known as a singer then but as a teen model -- one of the first African-Americans to grace the magazine's cover. The image made a huge impression on young Mara, then growing up in Kansas City, Mo. "It was like -- things are possible," she says.

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