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Sep 25, 2018 101 tweets 93 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
This year’s #TheRoot100 list of honorees is a reminder of the beauty and brilliance of blackness!

Honoring the best and brightest of black America continues to be a revolutionary act and we salute this year’s honorees:
No. 100: Reginald Dwayne Betts (@dwaynebetts)

Poetry fueled Betts' drive to succeed while he was incarcerated. It lead him to publish 2 books on poetry & graduate from Yale Law School w/ a 4.0

Betts was also awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for his poetry
No. 99: Lezli Levene Harvell (@DoctorLezli)

Harvell is bringing the spotlight to chefs of color thanks to her amazing Iconoclast Dinner Experience events! #TheRoot100
No. 98: Michael Thomas (@Flames_Baldwin)

Thomas is the editor of the Harvard Law Review, only the fourth African American to hold this position in the publication’s 132 year history.
No. 97: Fahamu Pecou (@fptheshit)

Pecou is an artist who centers his work on blackness, in particular, black masculinity!
No. 96: Simone Eccleston (@artslovernyc)

Eccleston made history when she was named the first director of hip-hop culture at the Kennedy Center!

Eccleston is making sure that this art form thrives at the nation’s most venerable cultural institutions.
No. 95: Malika Whitley (@heyChopArt)

Whitley is the founder of ChopArt, which provides a creative outlet for homeless teenagers! #TheRoot100
No. 94: James Shaw Jr. (@JamesShawJr9)

In an ultimate act of courage, Shaw rushed a gunman on a killing rampage at a Waffle House in Tennessee. #TheRoot100
No. 93 Kerby Jean-Raymond (@kerbito)

Jean-Raymond is known as the the "conscience of the fashion community," and he is best known for centering black people and the black experience in his work. #TheRoot100
No. 92: Tariq Meyers (@thetariqmeyers)

As Lyft's first diversity chief, Meyers helped the ride-hailing company create a "culture of belonging" and recruit a more inclusive workforce. He's recently taken his talents to Coinbase, a digital-currency wallet.
No. 91: Jovian Zayne (@jovianzayne)

The in-demand personal-development coach is the founder of the International Day of Purpose, an annual day to encourage "people to celebrate and activate the power of purpose." #TheRoot100
No. 90: Khalia Braswell (@KhaliaBraswell)

Khalia Braswell is the founder of INTech, an organization that helps young girls of color get into technology! #TheRoot100
No. 89: TK Petersen (@spotontk)

Petersen & his business partner saw the need for a relaxed meeting/working/hangout place for business-driven millennials when they were students and, in response, they opened the Gathering Spot in Atlanta! #TheRoot100
No. 88: Kima Jones (@kima_jones)

Jones is the founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, a book-publicist firm whose roster primarily includes women and writers of color. #TheRoot100
No. 87: Tourmaline (@tourmaliiine)

Tourmaline (formerly known as Reina Gossett), an outspoken advocate for trans rights, is co-writer and co-director of the film Happy Birthday, Marsha!, the story of trans activist Marsha P. Johnson. #TheRoot100
No. 86: Ramunda Young (@SOARwithRamunda)

Ramunda Young opened the first new black-owned bookstore in 20 years in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. #TheRoot100
No. 85: Danielle D. Hughes (@HughesDanielleD)

An avid believer in her community, Hughes is the co-founder of Detroit Speaks, an organization that helps high-school-age students build leadership skills. #TheRoot100
No. 84 Mandë Holford (@scimaven)

Holdford is a venomous snail hunter who is using her hunting skills to treat the pain caused by cancer and to learn how cancer cells work. #TheRoot100
No. 83: Keah Brown (@Keah_Maria)

Keah Brown started the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute and inspired hundreds of people with disabilities to embrace their beauty! #TheRoot100
No. 82: Mary Elizabeth Taylor

Mary Elizabeth Taylor may not be a household name, but she is a senior adviser in the White House. #TheRoot100
No. 81: Fawn Weaver (@happywivesclub)

Weaver peeled back the layers of tainted lore and history to verify that famed whiskey maker Jack Daniel actually learned the whiskey trade from a black man named Nathan "Nearest" Green. #TheRoot100
No. 80: Deana Lawson

Deana Lawson has mastered the ability of turning an ordinary image of black life into an extraordinary vision. #TheRoot100
No. 79: Sam Q. Bailey (@SamQBailey)

Bailey is the director of the hit web series Brown Girls, which has been picked up by HBO. #TheRoot100
No. 78: Andre D. Wagner (@photoDre)

Though he has photographed celebrities like Spike Lee, Issa Rae and Usher, Wagner is best known for his gorgeous black-and-white photos of everyday New Yorkers. #TheRoot100
No. 77: Jamira Burley (@JamiraBurley)

Burley, who's the head of youth engagement and skills for the Global Business Coalition for Education, teaches young people how to use their personal stories to empower their futures. #TheRoot100
No. 76: Jemele Hill (@jemelehill)

Hill is known to speak her mind & that has brought many truths to the light. She was named Journalist of the Year by the @NABJ for her provocative commentary on sports & politics #TheRoot100
No. 75: Michael W. Twitty (@KosherSoul)

Piling on the successes of his book, The Cooking Gene, Twitty made culinary history this year as the first African American to win the distinguished James Beard Foundation Award. #TheRoot100
No. 74: Ría Tabacco Mar (@RiaTabaccoMar)

Ría Tabacco Mar is an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represented a gay couple who sued a Colorado baker who refused to make them a wedding cake. #TheRoot100
No. 73: Tori Bowie (@toribowie)

Tori Bowie wins on and off the track! She’s known as the fastest woman in the world and has made her mark in the fashion industry! #TheRoot100
No. 72: Rhiannon Giddens (@RhiannonGiddens)

Giddens, who won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2017, perfectly captured the black experience in her latest album, Freedom Highway. #TheRoot100
No. 71: Quentin James (@QJames)

James is the co-founder of The Collective PAC, an organization that helps black candidates get elected to office. #TheRoot100
No. 70: Tyler Allen

Tyler Allen's research around cancer has given doctors more information about how tumors spread through the body. #TheRoot100
No. 69: Elana Meyers Taylor (@eamslider24)

Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it's bobsled time!

Elana Meyers Taylor won two silver medals for bobsledding at the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning her second with a torn Achilles heel #TheRoot100
No. 68: Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo)

Ijeoma Oluo is a self-described "internet yeller," and we're thankful she's always speaking the truth about racism, sexism and social justice. #TheRoot100
No. 67: Ericka Hart (@iHartEricka)

After having a double mastectomy at 28, Hart has become a visible advocate for post-cancer body positivity. #TheRoot100
No. 66: Kid Fury (@KidFury)

If there was such a thing as the Beyoncè of podcast, it would be Kid Fury. He has created a successful YouTube channel, podcast and comedy career that has given him a dedicated fan base of his own: #TheRoot100
No. 65: Van Lathan (@VanLathan)

Lathan is the champion of the people for calling out Kanye West on his idiotic "slavery was a choice" comments. #TheRoot100
No. 64: Jesmyn Ward (@jesmimi)

The two-time National Book Award-winning author of Sing, Unburied, Sing received the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grant" in 2017 #TheRoot100
No. 63: Jasmine Crowe (@jasminecrowe)

Crowe is the founder of Goodr, a food-management company that uses technology to reduce hunger by helping companies distribute surplus food. #TheRoot100
No. 62: Ashley Bennett (@AshleyBennettNJ)

Ashley Bennett was elected to local office in Atlantic County, N.J., after challenging a Republican incumbent who made a sexist joke after the Women's March. #TheRoot100
No. 61: Lawrence Brown (@BmoreDoc)

Lawrence Brown is the co-founder of #BMoreLeadFree, a campaign to raise awareness about lead poisoning in Baltimore. #TheRoot100
No. 60: Maurice Cherry (@mauricecherry)

Cherry is the creator of the award-winning podcast Revision Path, which highlights black designers, developers and content creators. #TheRoot100
No. 59: Joe Robert Cole

Cole is co-writer of Marvel's #BlackPanther, the blackity-black-blackest on-screen experience of the year. 🗣 #WakandaForever!
No. 58: Chloe Arnold (@chloearnold)

Arnold has choreographed for So You Think You Can Dance, Good Morning America & The Talk. It was her work on The Late Late Show With James Corden that earned her an Emmy nomination for choreography in 2018. #TheRoot100
No. 57: Doreen St. Félix (@dstfelix)

Doreen St. Félix writes flawlessly about pop culture and black identity for the New Yorker. #TheRoot100
No. 56: Jay Hammonds (@Damaria5)

Hammonds created the Year Up program at Facebook to close the opportunity gap there, bringing in 150 interns to add some much-needed color and diversity to its operations and the tech world in general. #TheRoot100
No. 55: Akbar Cook

The Newark, N.J., high school principal opened an on-campus laundromat because he noticed that some of his students were being bullied for wearing dirty clothes. #TheRoot100
No. 54: Leon Ford Jr. (@LeonFordSpeaks)

Paralyzed after being shot five times by Pittsburgh police, Ford became an outspoken advocate calling for an end to police brutality and violence. #TheRoot100
No. 53: Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk)

Brittney Cooper unleashed the fire inside with her latest book, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower. #TheRoot100
No. 52: Meghan Markle

The actress-turned-duchess upended royal tradition with the blackest royal wedding in history. Now she's using her new platform to elevate her philanthropic works. #TheRoot100
No. 51: Nikuyah Walker (@NikuyahWalkerCC)

Walker ran for office after the tragedy of the Unite the Right rally in 2017 and became the first black female mayor of Charlottesville, Va. #TheRoot100
No. 50: Hope Wiseman (@iamHopeSoDope)

The 26-year-old Maryland native is the youngest African-American cannabis dispensary owner in the country. #TheRoot100
No. 49: Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins)

The Philadelphia Eagle safety helped lead his team to a Super Bowl championship while continuing to protest against police brutality and social injustice. #TheRoot100
No. 48: Julia Collins (@JuliaCollins)

Collins raised $48 million to expand Zume Pizza, the thriving mobile-delivery business that uses robots in the pie-making process. #TheRoot100
No. 47: Melvin Carter (@melvincarter3)

Carter is the first black mayor of St. Paul, Minn. #TheRoot100
No. 46: Darnell Moore (@Moore_Darnell)

Moore’s survival has allowed him to be a truth-teller, changemaker and service leader as a #BlackLivesMatter organizer. #TheRoot100
No. 45: Edouardo Jordan (@tamburg)

The owner of two epically popular Seattle-area eateries, Jordan won two James Beard Awards, including the first honoring an African-American chef for Best New Restaurant. #TheRoot100
No. 44: Michael Arceneaux @youngsinick


Houston is known for producing some talented individuals & Arceneaux is one of them. His debut novel “I Can’t Date Jesus” became an INSTANT New York Times bestseller: #TheRoot100
No. 43: Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Ghansah won the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for her profile of Charleston, S.C., mass shooter Dylann Roof. #TheRoot100
No. 42: Cheo Hodari Coker (@cheo_coker)

The former journalist-turned-TV writer is the creator and showrunner of Netflix's hit series, Marvel's Luke Cage. #TheRoot100
No. 41: Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)

Omar is expected to become the first Somali-American woman and one of America's first Muslim women to serve in Congress after the November midterm elections. #TheRoot100
No. 40: Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer)

Serwer has continuously written excellent pieces around white nationalists and Donald Trump's presidency for The Atlantic. #TheRoot100
No. 39: Ira Madison III (@ira)

Madison is the entertainment and pop-culture critic of the Daily Beast whose sharp, witty observations are about to expand into TV and film #TheRoot100
No. 38: Ben Jealous (@BenJealous)

Ben Jealous is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Maryland and could make history as the state's first black governor. #TheRoot100
No. 37: Ryan Wilson

Wilson co-founded a private, members-only social club called the Gathering Spot in Atlanta, with a second location coming to Washington, D.C., in the fall. #TheRoot100
No. 36: Wesley Bell (@Bell4STL)

Bell upset a longtime incumbent to become the next prosecutor for St. Louis County. #TheRoot100
No. 35: Amy Sherald

Sherald painted first lady Michelle Obama's portrait for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. #TheRoot100
No. 34: Summer Lee (@SummerForPA)

Lee, who beat an incumbent by running on a progressive slate, is set to become the first black woman elected to the state Legislature from southwestern Pennsylvania. #TheRoot100
No. 33 Tracee Ellis Ross (@TraceeEllisRoss)

From our girlfriend Joan to our mother Rainbow, Ross has weaved her way into our hearts

The Emmy-nominated actress has been an outspoken advocate for women during the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. #TheRoot100
No. 32: Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin)

The mayor of Birmingham, Ala., is a shining example of the new progressivism sweeping the South. #TheRoot100
No. 31: Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu)

Union has been bringing it for as long as we can remember and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The actress has been an advocate for black women in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp #TheRoot100
No. 30: Nikole Hannah-Jones (@nhannahjones)

Hannah-Jones was awarded the MacArthur "genius" grant for making America look at its continuing school- and housing-segregation problem. #TheRoot100
No.29: Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5)

Durant, the Most Valuable Player in the last two NBA Finals, is also putting up big numbers off the court as a philanthropist. #TheRoot100
No. 28: Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele)

The Academy Award winner hasn't slowed down one bit since his hit film, Get Out—he's working on a new thriller and plans to reboot The Twilight Zone among many other projects. #TheRoot100
No. 27 Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley)

Wiley became the first black artist to paint a presidential portrait for the National Portrait Gallery with his unique take on President Barack Obama. #TheRoot100
No. 26: Arlan Hamilton (@ArlanWasHere)

Hamilton, the founder and CEO of Backstage Capital who is best known for investing in tech founders from underrepresented communities, established a $36 million fund exclusively for black female founders. #TheRoot100
No. 25: Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7)

Kaepernick reminded us to believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything. #TheRoot100
No. 24: Janelle Monae (@JanelleMonae)

Celebrate, graduated, and made it pass/fail!

The highly melanated, multitalented star & LGBTQ+ advocate opened up about her sexuality, paving the way for others to be themselves openly & freely.
No. 23: Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley)

Pressley is on her way to being the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives in an uncontested race in the November midterms. #TheRoot100
No. 22: Danai Gurira (@DanaiGurira)


Gurira portrayed the fierce warrior Okoye in the megahit film #BlackPanther and has been an advocate for women and girls around the world. She’s the true definition of a warrior! #TheRoot100
No. 21: Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph)

Joseph became a hero to children everywhere when he launched the #BlackPantherChallenge so that they could see Marvel's first black superhero. #TheRoot100
No. 20: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (@Beyonce)

The QUEEN of Music became the 1st Black woman to headline Coachella and from her on out it will be referred to as #Beychella.

She also brought blackness to the Louvre & gave $100,000 to HBCU students #TheRoot100
No. 19: Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum)

Gillum defied the odds by winning Florida's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and could make history by becoming the state's first black governor. #TheRoot100
No. 18: Tiffany Haddish (@TiffanyHaddish)


Our favorite homegirl has been busy since #GirlsTrip, with movies and a Netflix comedy special coming up. Oh, and she won an Emmy for hosting Saturday Night Live! #TheRoot100
No. 17: Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30)

Steph Curry helped lead his team to back-to-back championships, passed on visiting the White House, and instead, stopped by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. #TheRoot100
No. 16: Janet Mock (@janetmock)

Mock made history as the 1st black trans woman to direct a TV episode in her directorial debut for @PoseOnFX

Her talents brought stories of the LGBTQ+ community to life & helped a lot of individuals feel seen: #TheRoot100
No. 15: Donald Glover (@donaldglover)

The multihyphenate star kept us all talking this year with the stunning second season of his Emmy-winning series, Atlanta, and hit single, "This Is America." #TheRoot100
No. 14: Cardi B (@iamcardib)

From the Bronx to Billboard charts.

Cardi B a regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx now holds the record as the first woman in rap with more than one Hot 100 #1 song! #TheRoot100
No. 13: Michael B. Jordan (@michaelb4jordan)

Michael Bae Jordon has been acting in memorable performances for over a decade, this year, the actor earned rave reviews as #ErikKillmonger in Marvel's blockbuster hit #BlackPanther. #TheRoot100
No. 12: Chance the Rapper (@chancetherapper)

The Chicago-based rapper is not only a musical genius, but he is using his platform to help improve education for young people in his hometown! #TheRoot100
No. 11: Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman)


Boseman played T'Challa, king of the fictional African nation Wakanda, in #BlackPanther, one of the year's most successful superhero movies: #TheRoot100
No. 10 Issa Rae (@IssaRae)

You asked for representation & Issa gave it to you. She uses her talents to make us feel seen in an area where we are often forgotten. When you root for everybody black, the name Issa Rae has to be present! #TheRoot100
No. 9: Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar)

The California rapper won four Grammys and became the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his fourth studio album, DAMN. #TheRoot100
No. 8: Lena Waithe (@LenaWaithe)

When you talk about phenomenal women, Waithe should automatically come to mind. She’s making sure that our people feel seen & is paving a way for the future! #TheRoot100
No. 7: Serena Williams (@serenawilliams)

There’s no denying that Williams is the one of the greatest athletes of all time, while being a champion for working moms and black maternal health! #TheRoot100
No. 6: Virgil Abloh (@virgilabloh)

Abloh, the celebrated fashion designer and CEO of Off-White, is the first African American to lead Louis Vuitton's menswear collection. #TheRoot100
No. 5: London Breed (@LondonBreed)

After a special election in June, London Breed was sworn in as San Francisco's first black female mayor. #TheRoot100
No. 4: LeBron James (@KingJames)

James opened his I Promise School which provided each student with emotional support, free meals, and a bike to get back and forth to school. #TheRoot100
No. 3: Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams)

Abrams has a chance to make history as the first black female governor in U.S. history! #TheRoot100
No. 2: Ryan Coogler

With #BlackPanther, Coogler brought us the blackest movie of 2018. Black Panther broke records and continued to remind Hollywood of the importance we play in the industry. #TheRoot100
No. 1: Tarana Burke (@TaranaBurke)

To know Tarana Burke is to know a woman of grace & resilience.

The founder of the #MeToo Movement provided a space for many to tell their stories & has built a support system that continues to save lives. #TheRoot100

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Oprah whipped together a last minute dress because the one she ordered was entirely too white for the #RoyalWedding.

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