Steve Harvey: He Thinks Like a Mogul

The one-time stand-up comedian is now building a brand that serves up everything from laughter to life skills.

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Steve Harvey on April 8, 2013, in Cannes, France, during the MIPTV trade show 

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

In 2012 Steve Harvey took the stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and ended his 27-year career as a stand-up comic. You’d think since retiring from what brought him fame and fortune, he’d be sitting back and relaxing. But that hasn’t been the case.

From his popular radio show to a TV talk show, game show, best-selling books and even movies, Harvey has parlayed his career into a multimedia brand. In the words of Jay Z, Harvey is a business, man. The business of the Steve Harvey World Group hit full blossom when Harvey’s advice-filled best seller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man morphed into a record-setting big-screen comedy, grossing­ $91,547,205 after being made on a $12 million budget. It was those numbers that made Hollywood realize that black comedies were still alive and people would pay to see them. This weekend, Harvey is back with the much-anticipated sequel Think Like a Man Too, and it’s predicted to become an even bigger hit.

But it’s not all entertainment when it comes to Harvey’s brand. He's got a growing philanthropic side. Two of Harvey’s biggest endeavors involve mentoring young men and providing outreach to fatherless children and young adults.

The Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men focuses on teaching principles of manhood to young men in order to make them strong and responsible members of society. Every year since 2009, 100 boys ages 13-18 gather at one of several locations—which include Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles—for a two- to four-day camp. At the camps, the young men are taught personal responsibility, dream building and the importance of nutrition and physical fitness not only by Steve Harvey but also by other mentors who are on site. This year’s camp in Dallas included former NFL player and Dancing With the Stars champion Donald Driver and renowned educator Steve Perry of Capital Prep.

Harvey, the father of four children, has often spoken about the absence of role models for children nowadays. He’s used his platform to speak out about men who have abandoned their children and the crisis affecting black families. With the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, Harvey says, the goal is “reaching back to pull someone forward” and the motto is “fostering excellence in children.” Although Harvey has had his fair share of controversy surrounding his second marriage and custody dramas of his own, he’s been able to take an active role in encouraging mentorship for children and teens.

And now he’s adding “self-improvement guru” to his résumé. His latest endeavor has him joining forces with Lisa Nichols, the CEO and founder of Motivating the Masses, a professional “coach” and business-development specialist.

Harvey sought out Nichols for a new branch of the Harvey brand. Nichols will lead the “creation of a new division under the Steve Harvey umbrella that will focus on breakthrough and self-development,” according to a press release from Nichols. Dubbed the Act Like a Success series, the collaboration will align with the release of Steve Harvey’s new self-improvement book, Act Like a uccess, Think Like a Success. According to the press release, the goal of the series is to “educate the public on how to achieve success through personal breakthroughs. Pulling from lessons learned along their journey to success, it will focus on teaching techniques to accelerate growth even if there have been interruptions along the way.”

Harvey spoke about his partnership with Nichols and the expansion of his company:

When my interest in the self-improvement industry began to grow, I found myself enthralled by Lisa and her work. After brainstorming a wish list of potential collaborators with my team, I knew Lisa was the only choice. Meeting her shortly thereafter and hearing her inspirational story only solidified that further. I am eager for our partnership to begin and know there are only big things to come.

With an umbrella as big as Harvey’s, one has to wonder if he’s paving the way to becoming the next Oprah Winfrey. It’s not bad for someone who’s been a boxer, an insurance salesman, a carpet cleaner and a mailman.

Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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