In a very short time, Michelle Obama has made it clear that she is serious about making the White House a “people's house.” Internationally as well, the images of her visiting schools and talking to young women of diverse backgrounds reemphasized her image as a strong woman, committed to the cause of education and cultural diversity. She comes across as a woman who is not afraid to be strong and is comfortable in her own skin. She is clearly a first lady for the 21st century.
—Vishakha Desai, president, Asia Society
A Friendly Neighbor: Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist and CNN commentator
A-Plus: Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, House Majority Whip
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
Rock Star: Baratunde Thurston, editor, The Onion
Gardener in Chief: Alice Waters, restaurant owner and activist
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.