The Root 100 Gala Celebrates the Most Influential African Americans

The Root 100 honorees in New York City on Nov. 6, 2014
Derrick Davis for The Root
The Root 100 honorees in New York City on Nov. 6, 2014
Derrick Davis for The Root

The Root 100 annual gala is always a high-powered networking event, part family reunion, part revival. Throw in a photo booth and a great DJ, and it turns into one of the best parties of the year.


Thursday night’s soiree at New York City’s Espace on West 42nd Street did not disappoint. Packed with movers and shakers from the District, a few big-city mayors (Baltimore and Newark, N.J.), and some of the most eloquent and impassioned voices for social justice, feminism and gender equality, it was a night of celebration and a reminder of the work yet to be done.

In attendance were The Root 100 honorees, including Today-show anchor Tamron Hall, Newark mayor Ras Baraka, transgender activist Janet Mock and Ebony Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller, along with honoree and host Van Jones, a CNN contributor, and co-host Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst.

One of the highlights of the evening was a panel discussion featuring The Root 100 honorees Stacey Abrams, a Georgia state legislator, and Executive Director Rashad Robinson, along with Mock, who challenged African Americans to live the truth they speak.

“If we say we care about black people, we have to represent all black people,” Mock said. 

She spoke of the violence and harassment inflicted on transgender women of color and asked that black people become allies in women’s struggle for safety and security.

Abrams spoke of using local government to enact change rather than waiting for action from a Congress that is paralyzed. Robinson talked about a new generation that has been motivated to seek social change by the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the resulting protests in the city.