It's becoming such a prestigious and exciting honor to hear that one's name is on The Root 100 list.
The list is The Root's annual ranking of the 100 most influential African Americans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty (in fields such as politics, entertainment, philanthropy, technology, sports, education and social justice) to serve society at large—more specifically, to move the ball forward on making African-American lives and communities better.
That's why, on Tuesday, The Root hosted its second annual The Root 100 List Release Reception, sponsored by Prudential and Infiniti, in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., to unveil 2015's list. And boy, was it an event for the record books.
The Root Chairman Henry Louis Gates Jr. got on the mic and brought the house down after delivering a sermony speech about why it's such a big deal that Univision—the No. 1. Spanish news outlet—recently acquired The Root, the No. 1 black news website. He explained how it's high time we start connecting the dots between the black experiences happening in the U.S. and those happening south of the border, because many of us are descendants of the enslaved Africans brought to the New World during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. That perspective shone a bright light on the breadth of the black experience and how much power we can wield when we come together.
The Root Publisher Donna Byrd and Managing Editor Lyne Pitts began the process of announcing this year's honorees. Folks like Serena Williams—inarguably the greatest living American athlete; New York radio host Charlamagne tha God, who is both insightful and unflinching in his pop-culture commentary; Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who threw the book at the police officers who fatally detained Freddie Gray; John Legend and Common, for writing a song that became a soundtrack to the Black Lives Matter movement; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, for that "race book" that's got everyone talking—including Jay Z, who is also an honoree because he took a chance and got into the digital music-streaming industry.
This year's The Root 100 honorees hopped on Twitter to express their excitement and gratitude. Check out a few of the tweets below:
The list rankings will be announced Wed., Sept. 9, and this November we'll host an awards dinner where we'll congratulate the honorees in person. Be on the lookout for a splash page detailing this year's honorees and the work they've been doing year-round.