The Root 100 2016 honorees, including (far left) VSB’s Damon Young , (center, l-r) Symone Sanders, Luvvie Ajayi and Bozoma Saint John.
Image: Derrick Davis

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.

2018's list of luminaries, nominated in part by our faithful readers, span all walks of life: from activists to artists, singers to scientists, politicians to power forwards, designer to directors (you can see this year’s full interactive list here). What they all have in common—aside from black excellence, of course—is a tremendous impact on our communities, culture and consciousness.

As Danielle Belton, The Root’s editor-in-chief, explains:

“In The Root’s 10th anniversary year as a news site, we’re very excited to celebrate our 9th annual Root 100 gala. It’s both an important and historical moment for us,” said Belton. “Where else can you find a list that encompasses so many movers and shakers—from all walks of life—from heroes like James Shaw Jr., who stopped a mass shooter at a Waffle House in Tennessee, to opinionated hip-hop superstar Cardi B. We’ll be celebrating them and many, many more at this year’s gala.”

Of the 100 incredible individuals we’ll be celebrating at this year’s gala and award ceremony—hosted by Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton and Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas, Panama Jackson—honorees in attendance will include #MeToo founder and civil rights activist Tarana Burke—who tops this year’s list; Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Randall Woodfin; writer and host of the podcast Keep It, Ira Madison III and Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker.

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Additionally, performances at our highly anticipated gala and bound-to-be lit afterparty on Thursday, November 8 in New York City will include Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter BJ The Chicago Kid, singer-songwriter Victory Boyd, creator and host of the new BET show Dope Facts DJ Olivia Dope, and a surprise special guest. Coming just days after the midterms, we’re hoping we’ll have a lot to celebrate.

Want to know what it’s like to be at The Root 100? In 2017, we made our television debut, and while we won’t be coming to a screen near you for 2018, you can see for yourself why our annual celebration of black excellence is absolutely worth the hype.