2013 The Root 100

The actor-rapper has a point to make in film and as an activist.

  • Influence: 173.6
  • Reach: 14.96
  • Substance: 6.7
  • Media Mentions: 691
  • Internet Mentions: 12300000
  • Twitter Followers: 107997
  • Yasiin Bey

  • Rapper, actor and activist, formerly known as Mos Def, is winning rave reviews for his role in Life of Crime, the latest Elmore Leonard novel to be translated to film.
  • Job: Rapper, actor
  • Sector: Entertainment/Media
  • Twitter: @YasiinBey
  • Location: New York City
  • Age: 39
  • Bio: Rapper, actor and activist Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) makes the list this year because he's never afraid to say, or do, what he must to make a point. Whether that's in the honesty witnessed in his acting and lyrics or when he participates in a force-feeding to make a political statement about Guantanamo Bay, it's Bey's "realness" that we relate to, whether we agree with him or not. He's compelling to watch, as evidenced in his burgeoning film career. This year he's garnering praise for his role in Life of Crime, a film adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch. In it, Bey plays Ordell Robbie, a role made famous by Samuel L. Jackson in the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. Like his Facebook page.