Countdown to The Root 100: Who's No. 1? Here's a Preview of the Top Honorees in Entertainment, Arts and Sports

Illustration for article titled Countdown to The Root 100: Whos No. 1? Heres a Preview of the Top Honorees in Entertainment, Arts and Sports
Graphic: G/O Media, Photo: Getty Images/Facebook/Well-Read Black Girl

A quick Google search reveals that gifts for 10-year anniversaries should be made of either tin or aluminum, a testament to the resilience and strength of a relationship.

So it is fitting that as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Root 100—our annual list of the most influential African Americans, age 25 to 45—we also remember the strength and resilience of all the men and women we’ve honored over the past nine years and continue to honor this year. Every innovator, every thought leader and every game changer on this list had to break down barriers, hop over hurdles and overcome every form of systemic oppression that tells black America, “You don’t belong here.” Not only did they defy the naysayers, they soared to the highest heights and made America better in the process.

For the 10th anniversary of The Root 100, we’re unveiling the list a little bit differently than we have in the past. Before we reveal the full list on Thursday, today through Wednesday, we’re giving you a sneak peek of top three honorees in The Root 100’s eight categories: arts, business, community, entertainment, media, politics, sports and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).


Today, we’re revealing the top honorees in arts, entertainment and sports. Come back on Tuesday when we’ll pay tribute to the leading honorees in business and STEM, and on Wednesday, we’ll highlight the top honorees in politics, media and community, all before the big reveal on Thursday. Congrats to the 2019 class of The Root 100!


Nipsey Hussle; LIzzo; Steven Canals
Nipsey Hussle; LIzzo; Steven Canals
Photo: Getty Images

Nipsey Hussle, rapper, entrepreneur
Lizzo, singer, flutist
Steven Canals, co-creator of Pose


Jeremy O. Harris; Tomi Adeyemi; Glory Edim
Jeremy O. Harris; Tomi Adeyemi; Glory Edim
Photo: Getty Images, Facebook, Well-Read Black Girl

Jeremy O. Harris, playwright of Slave Play
Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone
Glory Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl


Alysia Montaño; Crystal Dunn; LeBron James
Alysia Montaño; Crystal Dunn; LeBron James
Photo: Getty Images

Alysia Montaño, track champion
Crystal Dunn, soccer star, U.S. Women’s National Team
LeBron James, NBA star, philanthropist, entrepreneur

Genetta M. Adams is Managing Editor of The Root.

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Nora Morse

This is great and these people deserve the spotlight, but I wish more were done to celebrate black people excelling in fields where we’re traditionally scarce.

First up, I’d nominate Michelle A. Williams, ScD, epidemiologist and dean of the Harvard-Chan School of Public Health.

Then Dr. Donald Hopkins, who is pretty much eradicating guinea worm disease in equatorial Africa. (He’s also at Harvard-Chan.)

Sports and entertainment are fun, but come on, let’s make our scientists and engineers and mathematicians the real stars. We’re not really going to get anywhere with more poets and point guards. If we’re going to have a future, we need metallurgists and biochemists, folks like that.