2013 The Root 100

William Jelani Cobb lends a particularly distinct and culturally relevant voice on issues of race and justice today.

  • Influence: 229.2
  • Reach: 12.82
  • Substance: 8
  • Media Mentions: 97
  • Internet Mentions: 69000
  • Twitter Followers: 13550
  • William Jelani Cobb

  • He has been an especially strong voice regarding the Trayvon Martin case and racial issues in general.
  • Job: Professor, historian, columnist
  • Sector: Entertainment/Media
  • Twitter: @jelani9
  • Location: New York City
  • Age: 44
  • Bio:

    "Perhaps history does not repeat itself exactly, but it is certainly prone to extended paraphrases," opined William Jelani Cobb at NewYorker.com, where his essay "George Zimmerman Not Guilty: Blood on the Leaves" is both a clever nod to hip-hop via Kanye West, as well as a clear indication of how Billie Holiday's lament on lynching is still an issue in America. This ingenious coding (on the black side for once, and in the New Yorker no less) speaks to just how important it is to have distinct and culturally nuanced voices dissect the issues of the day. This professor of history (at the University of Connecticut), author and TV talking head has proven himself at the center of the "black thought space" this year with his superb blogging around stories such as the George Zimmerman trial and verdict, Django Unchained and the death of Malcolm X's grandson. 

    Visit his website and like his Facebook page.

  • Fun Fact: "I was once kicked out of Eddie Long's church by armed county sheriffs and a man wearing a radioactive orange-plaid suit.”