Happy birthday to us!
On Jan. 28, 2008, The Root came into the world just as a young, black senator from Chicago was making his way to the White House, spreading a message of hope and change for America. In a changing media landscape, The Root emerged as a platform for the new voices of black America—a politically savvy, witty and, of course, unapologetically black generation of writers and thought leaders who provided a counternarrative to the one-sided, negative portrayals shown in mainstream media.
Ten years later, with the current occupant of the Oval Office serving up reheated, old-school racism with a modern-day twist, The Root is still here, delivering razor-sharp clapbacks to the racists, the Beckys and the do-nothing politicians who would prefer that we shut the hell up and be happy that we get to live in this “great” country called America.
As we continue to push back against this trash-ass presidency, we ponder: What will The Root be covering 10 years from now? Using our supersecret, Magical Negro ability to see the future (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!), members of The Root staff offer a glimpse of the stories we will be covering in 2028:
Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief, The Root
The Root in 2028 will likely be most proud of its coverage of whatever steaming wreckage is left of the American body politic (if we’re all not locked up in a gulag for it).
Will we be some kind of tin-pot democracy where The Root will be blogging live from the darkest recesses of the web? Or will it be back to business as usual in America, where the Department of Justice returns to the Obama-era legacy of at least paying lip service to the reality of black people being shot by the police? Who knows!
One thing I do know for certain is that our coverage of Marvel’s highly successful and profitable Black Panther trilogy will be lit. I’m talking so, so many features. So, so many listicles and think pieces and hot takes. You’ll just think The Root is the Black Panther Gazette or the Wakandan Times, which is a very good name for a publication.
We will also have fly-on-the-wall coverage of Malia Obama’s wedding to whatever third-tier British royal she ends up with, making us all go “Meghan who?” You thought folks were over-the-top before, screaming “black princess,” but let an Obama daughter do it and people’s faces will literally start melting off as if they just opened the Ark of the Covenant.
But probably my favorite story of 2028 will be when we all finally get our reparations checks, which the government will promptly take out 80 percent taxes on but will declare racism over and that “we’re all even now.” This will work to pacify some people, who will be excited to receive their 40 cyber acres and high-tech, artificially intelligent mule. But for most, this will only piss us off even more than we already were, prompting the second Great Migration, in which we all move back to the South in droves, changing its political climate forever because we can no longer remember what was so fucking great about the North in the first place. At least Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and—pick a Southern state, any Southern state—has vastly better food and won’t cost you your firstborn for a down payment on a modest, one-bedroom apartment.
Genetta M. Adams, Managing Editor, The Root
One thing I’m sure The Root will be covering in 2028 is that years after the shit show currently going down in the White House, the concept of “Listen to black women” will be fully in bloom. There will be more black women in public office (possibly even in the White House), running corporations and basically continuing to dominate in all aspects of the entertainment industry. #BlackGirlMagic will be sprinkled all over America, and everyone will finally calm the hell down. And if #BlackGirlMagic doesn’t do the trick, I’m sure the fact that Congress has finally legalized marijuana on the federal level will help everybody chill the fuck out.
Yesha Callahan, Deputy Managing Editor, The Root
In 10 years, hopefully there is still a world and the internet around, and if so, then that means that Donald Trump and the Federal Communications Commission didn’t burn this shit to the ground. Assuming that the world is still here, then I imagine The Root will continue to cover black excellence and still be the snarky site people have come to enjoy and trolls love to hate on. We will continue covering black excellence, and no matter what North West or her siblings do, we won’t cover that. The Root will continue to shine a spotlight on injustice and combat racism and Beckys in all their forms.
Stephen A. Crockett Jr., Senior Editor, The Root
This is what The Root will be covering in 2028. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do:
Tesla will announce the first affordable car with big wheels for rims. Lace-front wigs will come with a binding adhesive that actually sticks through a full shower. Black men will finally be able to freely eat dinner at a nice restaurant with their advanced sex dolls that speak but don’t talk back. Black women will still be saving the world from itself. Oprah will be finishing up her second term, and Chadwick Boseman will play adult Oprah in the story of her life. Malia Obama will be poised for her second Senate run, and Sasha Obama will be finishing her second semester abroad.
Eric Trump, the only Trump still relevant in 2028, will continue his surprisingly lucrative career as a traveling white supremacist magician. Health care for all will be the law of the land. Colin Kaepernick will have opened his Frederick Douglass School for African-American Boys and Girls, and Umar Johnson will be Pan-African annoyed.
Kirsten West Savali, Associate Editor, The Root
Natural disasters exacerbated by human-fueled climate change are disproportionately affecting black and brown people living in poverty. Wealthy white people are hoarding natural resources in more obvious ways. U.S. political duopoly continues to fracture.
Black and brown people are still incarcerated on ridiculous marijuana charges, while white people continue to grow wealthy in the new “Green Rush.” Black entrepreneurs are making inroads, while the formerly incarcerated are still locked out of the industry. Working-class people across the spectrum organize around the fact that a lack of access to capital should not be a death sentence, and health care for all is a mandate.
Black people are resisting; creating art, music and literature; and dominating cultural and political conversations. There is more urban farming in food deserts. There are alternate curriculums for black and brown students. Class issues within black communities are unpacked. There will be more organizing around the protection of black women and girls on political, structural and intracommunity levels.
2028 will look a lot like 2018 against a Black Mirror technological landscape. Virtual reality will be indistinguishable from brick-and-mortar reality.
That is, unless the aliens don’t take over first.
Maiysha Kai, Managing Editor, The Glow Up
In 2028 I hope The Root will be covering an America that is recovering and redeeming itself from the blight of 45, and finally acknowledging the value of black women—perhaps even with a black woman in the Oval Office or exiting her second term, if we’re lucky. (I’m looking at you, Kamala Harris.) I’m also hoping that our feeds are flooded with a fresh, new generation of relentlessly black, knowledgeable and motivated voices in politics, like Symone Sanders.
Veronica Webb, Editor, The Glow Up
Oprah, founder of the Free Market Party, is winding up her second term as the 46th U.S. president and supports the campaign of her vice president, Kamala Harris, former Democratic senator from California, to become her successor. Lagos, Nigeria, is the luxury capital of the world—surpassing only France in the consumption of Champagne and designer goods. Jollof rice becomes America’s latest chain-restaurant food craze, overtaking chipotle. Fear of a Black Planet becomes a reality as an all-black crew is set to man the permanent U.S. space mission on the moon. And no, it’s not a penal colony.
Breanna Edwards, News Editor, The Root
Picture this: The year is 2028. The empire of Wakanda has touched all corners of the world. The Root is the leader of black news across the globe. Only part of that may be a stretch. But seriously, over the next 10 years, I see us growing exponentially, reporting on a broader range of issues from across the Diaspora. Some things, however, will likely stay the same, like the fact that we’ll still be blackity black. We’ll still be unapologetic. We’ll still be coming for everybody and their edges.
Anne Branigin, News Fellow, The Root
The year is 2028 and Justin Timberlake produces a reality-TV series in which teenage robots audition to be part of the ultimate boy group. He still has not apologized to Janet Jackson, and The Root’s commenters, who argue with each other all day via hologram, will #NeverForget.
Sasha and Malia Obama will be flourishing in their 20s, and Malia will have cut off those little white friends who were ratting her out. Sasha will look even more amazing in glasses.
Your faves will still be giving problematic interviews, and The Root will still be roasting them, because succulent roasts will be the only way we’ll be able to access affordable sustenance in 2028. All the rest of the food will either go to our sex-robot overlords (long story) or Kim Jung Trump (even longer story). Except for yams—for some reason, both sex robots and Kim Jung Trump are allergic to yams.
Plus side: Those jet packs finally came through. Downside: The chargers definitely explode.
Angela Helm, Contributing Editor, The Root
Ten years from now, I’d love to be following the story of how, when Bernie Sanders became president in 2020, he saw the black light and, because of the disaster that was the Trump presidency, was able to pass a bill through both chambers of Congress giving financial recompense to the millions of descendants of slaves. As noted by Ta-Nehisi Coates way back in 2014, black folks in America will never be whole until we receive real compensation for the hundreds of years of unpaid labor, lost wages, discrimination and redlining—much of it from the government.
Of course, none of this would be possible except for the fact that in 2021, Congress apologized for its role in slavery and, two years later, devised a working group to study and make recommendations on the best way to implement reparations. This working group was headed by longtime Sanders supporter Ben Jealous, who had at least one term as Maryland’s governor.
Also, in 2028, binary gender as we now know it will not exist.
Damon Young, Senior Editor, Very Smart Brothas
I imagine that, in 2028, the biggest news story will be the worldwide Old Bay shortage, which came as a result of white people’s discovery, in 2027, that using it and other spices to season meat makes meat taste much better. And this “invention” and the subsequent panic to hoard Old Bay results in countrywide riots, anarchy and political upheaval, as both the Democratic and Republican parties give way to the burgeoning and stronger factions of Marinators (who wish to replace our current currency with bottles of seasonings) and the Spice Truthers, who believe that this is all a Zionist conspiracy to buy NBC.
Panama Jackson, Senior Editor, Very Smart Brothas
I’ve got a feeling that in 2028, we are guaranteed at least one solid headline at The Root that goes a little something like this: “On the Heels of His Latest Release, 60 is the New 30, Does Jay-Z Have Anything Less to Say?” While Jay has teased retirement since the early 2000s, he’s managed to be terrible at that endeavor, using his family and indiscretions as source material. Why should 2028 be any different? My only hope is that the catalyst for a new album isn’t Beyoncé’s release of an album called Last Lemon in the Fruit Bowl, I Swear, leading to a slew of think pieces about both sticking around through the hard times over and over again and how awesome lemonade is, so it makes sense to keep making it. Oh, and look out for that think piece on the North-Saint-Chicago West album, dropping June 16, 2028.
Terrell Jermaine Starr, Senior Reporter, The Root
In 2028 The Root will have an international office in Nigeria, with the nation’s presidential elections making up the publication’s first major editorial push from a major bureau outside the United States. As the largest African-American publication in the United States, The Root has made significant strides in producing original and international reporting since it was bought by Gizmodo Media Group in 2014.
The Root will expand its international coverage, hiring full-time freelancers in Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria to add heft to its coverage of the black Diaspora. But the Abuja outfit, which will have an editorial staff of 15 writers and 10 more employees on the business side, is GMG’s most aggressive attempt at developing a global audience.
Danielle Young, Producer, The Root
I can say that I’ll be glad that lazy thot is no longer our president, but Jesus, what will be the state of black America by then? If we’re still here (which I’m sure our resilient asses will be), we’ll be waxing poetic about how the Winfrey administration had to do so much cleanup from the damage done back in 2016.
We’re finishing the second term of the Winfrey White House, and things are looking up. Black women are finally reigning in the world, where they deserve to be. With headlines like “I’m So Glad We Listened to Black Women” and “Oprah Saves the World Yet Again,” there’s nowhere to go but up.
America will be made great … for once. We’ve welcomed Dreamers into our country so that they can actually get to enjoy a piece of the American pie. Foreign affairs are nothing but a good time at Oprah’s opulent White House. There will be fewer full-time jobs and more full-time dreams realized. Our entire country is based on equality. Reality TV is over, which means the Kardashians are over.
What a time to be alive!
Jason Johnson, Politics Editor, The Root
After a livestreamed public breakup with Jaden Smith at the 11th annual Fyre Festival, Sasha Obama quickly announces her run for Congress to her 27 million followers in 3-D on SnapFaceChat.
Monique Judge, Staff Writer, The Root
Saturday nights on #TheRootAfterDark, we are going to go live into the homes of men who married sex robots. She started out as a tool for satisfaction, but eventually emotions took over, and before he knew it—he was in love. It was weird but amazing at the same damn time. He loved everything about her. The little squeaks that sometimes came out when she moved. He loved how she never got upset with him or talked back. She did everything he said, because she knew how to take care of a real man.
Hell, maybe one day they would even see if they could have some babies. It would be easy to program her to take care of them. They can make robots do anything nowadays.
Michael Harriot, Staff Writer, The Root
While sitting in the back seat of my self-driving car returning home from a fundraiser for the Sen. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter for President campaign, as I pass the maximum security federal prison where Jared Kushner is probably playing spades with Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly (not in for messing with underage girls; he was finally convicted for his Trapped in the Closet series), I reflect on how much has changed in Budweiser’s United States of America Presented by Amazon©.
Ever since that fateful day when Donald Trump tweeted a link to an article by Stephen Crockett that simply read, “Who Is This Nigga?” The Root has grown by leaps and bounds. We still cover the Democrats, Republicans and newly formed Wypipo Party, but we have become so much more.
It doesn’t matter if you’re chilling with your sex doll watching The Root TV’s streaming service cover the shooting of an unarmed black teen (it never stops) or you’re on your Apple iPhone 21 retina implant reading about the British outrage over Prince William’s divorce from Catherine and his engagement to Cardi B—The Root will still be the voice and outlet for black America.