TR: Why might some black megastars who fit the 25-to-45 age criterion be missing from the list?
OW: There are a couple of things that might hurt somebody’s substance score, which significantly affects the overall influence score. One is that it’s not just about how many people you reach. It’s also about the quality of your work within the last year. So there are some people who are famous and maybe had a great album two years ago, but we tried to really pay attention to what degree they’ve changed the conversation in black America in the last 12 months and to what degree they have set new standards in their area of expertise in the last 12 months.
The other thing that could hurt a potential honoree is that they’re in the media a lot but there’s nothing particularly important about the contribution they’re making. There are a lot of people who are famous but not really pushing the boundaries of their craft. You can get a lot of press, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing vital work.
Lauren Williams is The Root‘s deputy editor. Follow her on Twitter.