The Root 100

The Root 10o is our annual list of the most influential African Americans age 25 to 45. Check out our curated list of past coverage.

Stacey Abrams Tops Our 10th Annual The Root 100

Tarana Burke Tops The 2018 Root 100

The Hangover: We've Finally Recovered From The 2018 Root 100 Gala

What do you get when you put hundreds of well-dressed black folks, a great DJ, an open bar, and boundless black excellence into a trendy event space in New York City ? The Root 100 gala, our annual celebration of the year’s 100 most influential black doers, makers, movers and shakers.

Watch: The 2018 Root 100 Gala Takes the Cake, Yet Again, as the Best and Blackest Night of the Year

Every Root 100 gala is special, but 2018 was particularly momentous. Along with celebrating our 100 honorees, The Root also celebrated its 10th anniversary. Watch a recap of that beautiful night.

The 2018 Root 100 Gala Celebrates Another Year of Black Excellence!

We celebrate black excellence every day here at The Root, but there’s one event where we celebrate the most influential black Americans of the year: our annual Root 100 gala.

We Created ‘Melanated News’ for The 2018 Root 100 Gala, But We Couldn’t Resist Sharing All This Glorious Blackness

Melanated news here! Get your melanated news here!

So You Think You Know The Root 100?

While you might recognize the names Tarana Burke and London Breed from our 2018 list, do you really know who these people are and their many accomplishments? Our guess is no, so The Root hit the streets of New York City to see just how much folks know about these black luminaries.

Jordan Peele is No. 1 on The 2017 Root 100

Watch: Angela Rye Makes Power Moves at The 2017 Root 100 Gala

Rye is the spot-on “Boy, bye” voice of blackness who holds no punches. So choosing her as one of the hosts of The 2017 Root 100 gala was a no-brainer. And to top it off, Rye is also on the list as an honoree.

Watch: NFL Star Michael Bennett Refuses to Stay in His Lane

The 2017 Root 100 honoree Michael Bennett is not only an NFL star as a Seattle Seahawks defensive end but also an activist, author and philanthropist. Here’s why sports does not define him and why he refuses to stay in his lane. above.

Watch: Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins on Race’s Importance in Narratives

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins was recognized on The 2017 Root 100 for his work changing narratives through the theatrical arts. In 2016, Jacobs-Jenkins was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant, and his play "Gloria" was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Watch: Jemele Hill Says Our Progress Is ‘3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back’

In 2017, Jemele Hill’s name was hashtagged, dragged and praised heavily, and here at The Root, we honored her on The 2017 Root 100 for her contributions to journalism.

Watch: Don’t Tell Michael Smith to ‘Stick to Sports’

The 2017 Root 100 honoree Michael Smith breaks down what people really mean when they tell him and his co-host, Jemele Hill, to “stick to sports.”

Watch: How Mayor Lumumba Is Rewriting the Story of Jackson, Miss.

The 2017 Root 100 honoree Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the youngest mayor in Jackson, Miss., history, talks about how he plans to bring about change.

Watch: Raquel Willis on Bringing Your Black Transgender Identity to Work

Raquel Willis was recognized on The Root 100 in 2017 for her unapologetic voice and dedicated work to elevate the transgender community. Watch the video for her personal story about how hiding her true identity while working as a journalist in Monroe, Ga., shaped her advocacy.

Watch: Lena Waithe Is Black and Unapologetic in the Writers’ Room

The 2017 Root 100 honoree Lena Waithe made history earlier this year when she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, and we have a feeling it won’t be her last.

Watch: Dee Rees Says It’s Not Enough to Just Be a Black Woman; You Must Be Excellent

Dee Rees is out here making movies that stick to your ribs—from "Pariah" to "Bessie" to "Mudbound." Because of these amazing films, Rees was recognized on The 2017 Root 100.

Watch: Yance Ford Tackles Grief and Racial Injustice in the Moving Documentary, 'Strong Island'

Filmmaker and 2017 Root 100 honoree Yance Ford’s film "Strong Island" is a documentary that tells the story of the Ford family and how their lives were forever altered by the shooting death of Yance’s older brother, William, in 1992. He was killed by a white man in the Long Island, N.Y., where Yance’s parents had moved to raise a family. Stunningly, the case never went to trial after being reviewed by a grand jury.

The Root 100 No. 1s: Melissa Harris-Perry Lets the World Know She Is Not Your Mammy

The indomitable Melissa Harris-Perry gave us #Nerdland, that delicious slice of TV that wasn’t white-centered, wasn’t male-centered and was here for all the blerds who craved nuanced political thought and conversation. For all this black girl brilliance, she was named to the No. 1 spot on The Root 100 in 2012.

The Root 100 No. 1s: Ben Jealous, a Supreme Builder of Bridges Over Left and Right

As head of the NAACP, Jealous was most astute in recognizing the fact that the game had changed since the days of de jure segregation and open racial terror. Under his steady guidance, the outfit took on more contemporary issues such as the abolition of the death penalty, gay-marriage equality and police brutality. For all of this, Jealous was named to the No. 1 spot on The Root 100 in 2013.

The Root 100 No. 1s: Ta-Nehisi Coates Wanted to Be ‘the Baddest Motherfucking Writer on the Planet’

It is a rare piece of long-form journalism that breaks the internet. But that’s exactly what happened when Ta-Nehisi Coates’ keen, decisive reportage, “The Case for Reparations,” dropped in June 2014, compelling the editors at The Root to give him that year’s No. 1 spot.

The Root 100 No. 1s: Shonda Rhimes Changes the Face of Television Forever

The pop-cultural impact of Shonda Rhimes cannot be overstated, although at this point, it’s hard to imagine TV without her forceful, casually diverse, complicated and occasionally ruthless characters who fall outside of what was heretofore the “norm” (read: white, heterosexual male protagonists and their stories). For her body of work, Rhimes was named The Root 100’s No. 1 in 2015.

The Root 100 No. 1s: Beyoncé Will Forever Be Bey-ond. She’s So Fly, They Named a Fly After Her

What can be said about Queen Bey that hasn’t already been said, done, sung, texted, tweeted, explicated, unpacked, imagined? In an age when there are very few true superstars, she stands alone; one of a few black women, one of a few of her generation. This is why, in 2016, she jumped over every other person on The Root 100’s list to secure the No. 1 spot.

Beyoncé Leads All on The 2016 Root 100