About Us



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 www.theroot.com, on Twitter @TheRoot247 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, webzines, 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 submissions@theroot.com.

The Root Internship

The Root is always looking for great interns to join our team. We offer both paid and unpaid editorial and business internships for the fall, spring and summer semesters. Please send a cover letter, resume, and area of interest to rootinterns@theroot.com.

General Comments

Please send an email to readerfeedback@theroot.com

For media inquiries and press bookings, please send an email to press@theroot.com.

The Root and Amazon Associates

The Root is part of the Amazon Associates program. When we mention books, CDs, and other products, we include links to their Amazon pages. If readers follow those links and buy products from Amazon, The Root receives a commission.

Latest Press Releases


Donna Byrd

Publisher, TheRoot.com

Donna Byrd is Publisher of TheRoot.com, 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 one of the top African American-focused daily news sites on the Web.

Prior to joining TheRoot.com, 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 Ezgov.com, 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.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.


Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is Editor-in-Chief of The Root. He is also co-founder of AfricanDNA.com, the site that powers the genealogy section of The Root.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is most recently the author of Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own (Crown, 2007) and the host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed PBS series "African American Lives" and "Oprah's Roots."

Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American and Africana Studies. An influential cultural critic, Gates has written for Time magazine, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He received a B.A. in history, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973. The recipient of 48 honorary degrees and a 1981 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," Professor Gates was also named one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, one of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans" by Ebony in 2005, received a National Humanities Medal in 1998, and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Jenée Desmond-Harris

Staff Writer

As The Root's staff writer and White House correspondent, Jenée Desmond-Harris addresses stories at the intersection of race with culture, politics, social justice, and identity.  She provides daily commentary on breaking news stories of interest to the black community – from data on African American employment, health, and education, to President Obama's poll numbers, to black representation on television and film. Her ongoing "Crazy Talk" feature offers analysis of the nation's most outrageous instances of racism. Jenee is responsible for The Root's series on atheism, obesity, and demographic changes in the black community, and has interviewed prominent African-American figures including Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Magic Johnson, Van Jones, and Venus Williams, as well as numerous members of Congress and leading academics.  Before joining The Root, she practiced law for four years, and contributed reported coverage of events, cultural commentary, and personal essays, to Time, MSNBC, and XOJane. She's a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Law School and lives in Washington, D.C.

Joel Dreyfuss

Senior Editor-at-Large

Joel Dreyfuss brings more than 35 years of experience as a journalist, editor and news executive to The Root. He was The Root's managing editor from late 2009 through 2011. He has been editor-in-chief of Red Herring and Information Week, editor of PC Magazine, executive editor of Black Enterprise, a senior writer at Bloomberg Markets and editor-in-chief of Urban Box Office, an Internet startup.

He also served two stints at Fortune, first as an associate editor and Tokyo bureau chief, and later as a senior editor and personal technology columnist. Earlier he worked at USA Today and The Washington Post. He was also a news producer at KPIX in San Francisco and on-air reporter for KQED's Newsroom and WNET's 51st State.

He is co-author of The Bakke Case: The Politics of Inequality (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989). Many of his articles and essays have been included in anthologies.

A native of Haiti, Dreyfuss grew up in Paris, France; Monrovia, Liberia, and New York City. He earned a B.S. degree at the City College of the City University of New York and was an Urban Journalism Fellow at the University of Chicago. He is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nsenga Burton


A Virginia native, Nsenga Burton, Ph.D., is an editor-at-large for The Root. She is an accomplished scholar, filmmaker and activist. Her research interests and scholarship focus on the examination of popular culture -- specifically television, film and new media -- through the lens of race, class, gender and sexuality. She is currently an associate professor of communication and media studies at Goucher College in Baltimore. She holds a B.S. from Northwestern University, an M.A. from New York University, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Her publications include "South African Soap Operas: A 'Rainbow Nation' Realized?" which will appear in the anthology Watching While Black: Centering Black Television Programming and Its Audiences, which will be published this year by Rutgers University Press. She has written extensively about black popular culture, having authored the "Black Popular Culture" section of Princeton University's Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History and contributed a chapter on black sitcoms to an anthology about the work of Spike Lee. She is the owner of BurtonWorks Media. She is completing a documentary on the 2007 public servants' strike in South Africa, entitled Four Acts.