Michelle Obama stands out for her portrayal of strong black family life and values. Everything they do—the kids, the school, the holding hands…. To show black love at that level, at the highest level of American authority, to show black love which the media has told us doesn’t exist, that’s been the best part for me.

—Cathy Hughes, CEO, Radio One

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

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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.