The Root is the premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.  Founded in 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America. Visit us at, on Twitter @theroot and on Facebook.

Submission Guidelines

The Root commentaries aim to spark lively discussions on our site, as well as dialogue with other conversations taking place on the Web through embedded links to videos and other news and commentaries on blogs, newspapers, organization sites and video. Essays should be 500-800 words in length. Please copy and paste the essay within the body of the email, as well attach it as a Word document. (Hyperlinks can be inserted from the tool bar.) Please send submissions, along with a one paragraph author bio, and phone and email contact information, to

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Donna Byrd

Founding Publisher, The Root

Donna Byrd is Publisher of The Root, a daily online news site that provides thought-provoking commentary on today's news from a variety of black perspectives. As publisher, Byrd leverages her expertise in marketing, strategic business planning and digital innovation to lead the top African American-focused daily news sites on the Web.


Prior to joining The Root, Byrd was CEO of Black America Web, where she worked with entrepreneur and national radio personality Tom Joyner to launch one of the top three African-American news and lifestyle websites. Most recently, she was a founding partner with Kickoff Marketing, a strategic planning and brand firm, where she used her extensive experience in brand development, marketing and strategic planning.

Her interest and expertise in the internet space began in 1999 when she served as Vice President of Marketing for, which facilitates communication and interaction between governments and their constituents.

Byrd has held previous positions at The Coca-Cola Company and Procter and Gamble where she developed and managed marketing strategies and advertising for new products, among other initiatives.


Byrd has a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Lyne Pitts

Managing Editor, The Root

Lyne Pitts has been Managing Editor of The Root since February of 2014. She was hired as a consultant/interim Managing Editor at The Root in September of 2013. She had previously been Head of U.S. Operations for the Arise Networks based in NY, where she was responsible for staffing, program development and budget oversight.

Until February of 2009 Pitts was Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for NBC News. In that capacity she supported the introduction of new business ventures as well as streamlining existing broadcast productions. Pitts joined NBC News in February of 2006 as Executive Producer of NBC News' "Today," Weekend Edition, working alongside anchors Lester Holt and Campbell Brown.

Prior to joining NBC News, Pitts spent a 23-year career in editorial production at CBS News. She is a graduate of Stanford University.

Genetta Adams

Senior Editor, The Root

Genetta M. Adams has been senior editor for The Root since 2014. Based in Brooklyn, she is an experienced journalist specializing in entertainment and pop culture who has worked for online and print publications, including Newsday and the Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter.

Stephen Crockett Jr.

News Editor, The Root

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is an Aries who likes long nights playing X-box and any food item made with artificial coloring. His work has appeared in several publications and, to paraphrase MF Doom, he wears a mask to cover the raw flesh. A rather ugly brother but his writing is gorgeous. Follow him on Twitter.

Danielle Belton

Associate Editor, The Root

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo. on a healthy diet of news programming, pop culture and black history, Danielle Belton, daughter of loving regular folk and wife of no one, examines the irreverent side of American life. Best known as the creator of the award-winning blog The Black Snob, Belton was previously editor-at-large for Clutch Magazine Online and was head writer for the late night television show Don’t Sleep hosted by T. J. Holmes on BET. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she is forever and always working on a book. Learn more about her at

Kirsten West Savali

Senior Writer, The Root

Kirsten West Savali is recognized as a black thought leader for a new generation, known for her provocative commentary exploring the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture, She was named to EBONY Magazine's 2015 'Power 100’ List, and was awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship for her work focusing on criminal justice. Follow her on Twitter.

Jason Johnson

Political Editor, The Root

Dr. Jason Johnson is one of the most original voices in political and social commentary in the United States today. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and focuses on campaign election strategy and strategic communication. Johnson has worked for both Republicans and Democrats as a campaign manager and assistant state director in a series of legislative campaigns in South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. Internationally, Johnson worked on the 2001 London mayoral race, and in 2007 he was an honored guest of the Independent Electoral Commission in Johannesburg South Africa. He has been an international elections observer in Mexico, covering the hotly contested 2006 and 2012 presidential elections as well as the 2009 midterm legislative elections during the turbulent drug wars. In early 2012, Johnson also participated in a two-week speaking tour throughout Germany on Internet Strategy in Presidential Campaigns. Jason’s work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Politico, the Washington Times and Black Enterprise. His insights on campaigns politics have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Sirius XM, BBC, Fox Business News, Huffington Post, ESPN and NPR's Morning Edition.

Yesha Callahan

Grapevine Editor

Like many people born and raised in New Jersey, Yesha Callahan doesn’t mince her words when it comes to expressing her opinion. As editor of The Grapevine and staff writer, she muses on everything from the comings and goings of Black Twitter, as well as entertainment, sports and black pop culture. Previously, Callahan was a comedy and politics writer on BET’s late night talk show Don’t Sleep! and spent way too many years in the corporate world of Human Resources. She lives on a mountain with a dog, a teenage son and some sanity.