100 Black Influencers to Know in 2012
From Melissa Harris-Perry to LeBron James to Benjamin Crump, these 100 people are shaping the future.
Then there are those whose work behind the scenes in entertainment distinguishes them in a business in which few blacks are in a position to make decisions: Superproducer Shonda Rhimes (No. 9), Middle of Nowhere director Ava DuVernay (No. 29), Lady Gaga's manager, Troy Carter (No. 42), and BounceTV co-founder Rob Hardy (No. 73) are just a few who made our list this year.
The Summer Olympics this year in London gave a number of honorees on our list a chance to shine: Tennis phenoms Serena (No. 4) and Venus Williams (No. 17), basketball great LeBron James (No. 7), swimmer Cullen Jones (No. 62), indoor-volleyball player Destinee Hooker (No. 67) and sprinter Allyson Felix (No. 75) were among them. (And we adore champion gymnast Gabby Douglas, but alas, the teen is too young to qualify for The Root 100.)
Looking to the worlds of business and technology, tech entrepreneurs Tristan Walker (No. 19) and Angela Benton (No. 34) stand out in a field that lacks a sizable black presence; so do Socialcam CEO Michael Seibel (No. 50) and Facebook marketing executive Kay Madati (No. 79). Money-management executive Mellody Hobson (No. 36) and branding guru Steve Stoute (No. 63) do as well.
Many others made the list, in fields as diverse as cancer research (Levi Garraway, at No. 93), eco-friendly apparel design (Natalia Allen, at No. 99) and photography (Hank Willis Thomas, at No. 27). Check them out, as well as our breakout pages showing honorees who are new to The Root 100 universe and have never been selected before, the women of The Root 100 and the men of The Root 100.
Do you have a favorite or two? Show them some love by using the social media buttons on their individual pages to share their profiles with others. You can find their pages via our face wall or the traditional list.
You can also track their influence as it rises and falls, using our Android app. Each app aggregates content from across the Web and social media so that fans can get real-time news about each individual. Find your favorite influencer and download his or her app today, using the link on the influencer's profile page or on the Android marketplace.
Finally, let us know what you think of this year's list, and be sure to respond to next year's call for nominations. Your input always helps us pull together a list that recognizes the best our community has to offer.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon is managing editor of The Root.