2021 Webby Awards: We Did It, Y'all! Plus, NAACP Presents Yara Shahidi With 1st-Ever Advocate of the Year Award

Felice León, Producer and Host of The Root’s “Unpack That”; Yara Shahidi accepting the Advocate of the Year Award at the 2021 Webby Awards.
Felice León, Producer and Host of The Root’s “Unpack That”; Yara Shahidi accepting the Advocate of the Year Award at the 2021 Webby Awards.
Screenshot: The Root, Courtesy of Webby Awards

You were rooting for us! You were all rooting for us! And...it paid off!

The winners of the 25th Annual Webby Awards have been announced! Yes, I’m about to present all of this Leo energy and make us at The Root the lede award announcement here.


The votes are in—The Root’s “Unpack That” series won the Webby Award for Public Service & Activism, Video Series & Channels (Video)!! That means we are the reigning Webby champs (yep, we won a Webby last year, too)!!! Shouts to our video team: Felice León, Jessica Moulite and Peter “PJ” Rickards, with help from Jennifer Perry and Mike Pasquariello for this well-deserved win!

If you want to check out the award-winning video, “Blackface in Cyberspace,” get into it below:

Blackface In Cyberspace / The Root

The Root’s wins don’t stop there because we can also exclusively share a clip from Yara Shahidi, who won the first-ever Advocate of the Year Award, presented by the NAACP and The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) for Yara’s “longstanding commitment to utilizing the Internet and her influence to vocalize issues that impact the Black community and BIPOC communities at large, and educate her audience about political issues and the voting process.”

The clip of Yara’s five-word acceptance speech for the Advocate of the Year Award, which is presented by the fabulous Gabrielle Union, is below:

The Root Exclusive: Gabrielle Union presents Yara Shahidi with the Advocate of the Year Award at the 2021 Webby Awards / Courtesy of Webby Awards

If “We don’t integrate, we recreate” sounds familiar, it’s because Yara is about that energy throughout all her platforms—it’s her motto and prominently on display in her social media bio. And with her new Adidas Originals line, we know Yara isn’t a stranger to creation or recreation.

“The NAACP is excited to build a long-term partnership with The Webby Awards, and particularly proud to launch our association by recognizing an audacious champion for vulnerable communities—the first-ever Advocate of the Year Awardee: Yara Shahidi,” Senior Vice President of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau Kyle Bowser said in a statement sent to The Root. “As we move toward an increasingly digitally connected world, the NAACP and The Webby Awards aim to ensure online platforms support inclusive, equitable, and diverse access across all communities.”

Other Black-ass highlights from the Webby Awards winners’ circle (including Special Achievement honors) are:

  • Webby Film and Video Person of the Year Winner Ava DuVernay for continuing to be a force for good in the entertainment industry with the launch of ARRAY Crew, a database to diversify Hollywood’s below-the-line talent.
  • Webby Best Actress Winner Andra Day for her incredible work in the Hulu biographical film The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
  • The inaugural Webby Anthem Award to Pharrell Williams for his groundbreaking endeavors working towards racial equity in education and entrepreneurship by empowering a new generation of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation (S.T.E.A.M.M.) through his non-profit, YELLOW, as well as supporting Black and Latinx business owners through his newest non-profit, Black Ambition. The Webby Anthem Award is named after the first-ever Anthem Awards, a new venture from The Webbys which will launch this summer. The Anthem Awards will honor the breadth of mission-driven work across causes in an effort to amplify the voices that spark global change. For more information visit: anthemawards.com
  • Oprah’s Book Club won the Webby Award for Arts & Culture, General Series (Podcasts).
  • The Daily Show won The Webby Award for Best Overall Social, Features (Social).
  • We Are George Floyd won the Webby Award for Documentary: Shortform, General Video (Video).
  • Daymond John’s Black Entrepreneurs Day won the Webby Award for Business & Finance, General Virtual & Remote (Virtual & Remote).
  • Megan Thee Stallion x New York Times - Protecting Women of Color won the Webby Award for Best Editing, Performance & Craft (Video).
  • Shaq’s Fun House vs. Gronk Beach won the Webby Award for Sports, General Virtual & Remote (Virtual & Remote).

“This past year, the Internet kept us together when the only option was being apart,” Claire Graves, president of The Webby Awards said in a statement. “Our connection has been everything, and our 2021 Winners are a testament to this. They have entertained us, helped us uplift one another, explained complex issues affecting our world and inspired global movements.”

You can now watch the 25th Annual Webby Awards internet celebration and see the full list of this year’s winners by clicking here.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


sigmapapi...(No me importa!)

Congratulations!  Your videos don’t get enough props.  I actually use the video on the History of Juvenile Justice in my 1313 JJ Systems course.  Great win for all.