First lady Michelle Obama has simply rocked these first 100 days as well as the decades before that have led her family and this country to our present day. Her grace, strength and intelligence in everything from pep talks at federal departments to engagement with the city in which she now lives demonstrates that without having to brag about it, the country really got a 2-for-1 deal with this couple. She seems keenly aware of the stereotypes and history she's up against, yet manages to obliterate them with a power exercised in elegance rather than aggression.
The most visible woman in the country and perhaps the world is an African-American woman who stands firmly next to her husband and so clearly enjoys the love and respect aspired to by both parties in any relationship. She's changing the way people may see my own mother, sister, and if I should be so lucky in the future, eventually, daughter. I'm so honored and proud to watch her simply work it.
—Baratunde Thurston, editor, The Onion
A Friendly Neighbor: Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist and CNN commentator
A-Plus: Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, House Majority Whip
21st Century Ambassador: Vishakha Desai, president, Asia Society
The Other Community Organizer: Lani Guinier, professor of law, Harvard University
Not About PR: Dorothy Height, chair and president emerita, National Council of Negro Women
Black Love Guru: Cathy Hughes, CEO, Radio One
An American Mother: Rep. John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia
Working It Out: Julianne Malveaux, president, Bennett College for Women
Carrying Her Own Head: Susan L. Taylor, former editor, Essence
Gardener in Chief: Alice Waters, restaurant owner and activist