11th-Annual Root 100 List Announced: Most Influential African Americans of 2020

11th-Annual Root 100 List Announced: Most Influential African Americans of 2020

11th-Annual Root 100

Today The Root, a G/O Media brand and one of the largest sites covering Black news, politics, culture and opinion, announced the winners of its 11th-annual Root 100 List, featuring one hundred of the most influential African American innovators, public figures, community leaders, challengers, and activists of 2020. This list celebrates members of the Black community aged 25-45, who are changing the world by breaking down barriers and paving the way for the next generation.

This year’s list is led by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist covering racial injustice for The New York Times and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. Other notable names this year include former NFL player turned activist, Colin Kaepernick, journalist and trans rights activist Raquel Willis, physician and congressional candidate Dr. Cameron Webb, among many others. Former years’ honorees include Ben Jealous, civic leader, politician and former CEO of the NAACP, Shonda Rhimes, television writer, producer and director, Stacey Abrams, politician, lawyer and voting rights activist, and principal dancer and ballerina Misty Copeland.

The 2020 list of honorees focuses on Black resilience and resistance — honoring those pushing back against injustice for their communities, to affect culture or society in a positive way, at a time when the political and cultural landscape is at times hostile to the idea of Black achievement. This year especially, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation facing the most consequential election of our lifetime in November, there is no shortage of opportunities for greatness. The 2020 list celebrates all: from the little known community organizers to some of the nation’s top political figures and celebrities.

The Root‘s editorial team, led by Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton, utilizes a unique algorithm to select the winners. Using comprehensive and proprietary methodology, editors weighed hundreds of publicly-submitted nominees by ranking overall social influence, which includes the following:

  1. Reach: the audience they touch across digital platforms and social media, and
  2. Substance: the overall impact of their work on their community, culture and society, graded on a scale from 0-10.

Winners were then hand-selected from the finalists pool by a seasoned selection committee consisting of award-winning, NABJ-honored journalists.

“We’re thrilled to announce this year’s Root 100 winners, a collection of the world’s most influential African Americans,” says Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief at The Root. “This year is more important than ever to highlight those making strides to stand up against social injustices, no matter how large or small. The honorees are standouts in resilience and activism, making a difference in their communities, our culture or American society in a positive way, and ultimately creating a pathway for change in the Black community.”

To learn more about The Root 100 awards and to view the full list of winners, please see below or visit the awards website.

The full 2020 winners list for The Root 100:

  • Arts: Kehinde Wiley, Kimerly Drew, Caroline Williams, Joan Smalls, Hebru Brantley, Kiley Reid, Naomi Beckwith, Ashley James, Dario Calmese, J’nai Bridges, Dana Scruggs, Sarah M. Broom, Beatrice Dixon;
  • Business: Joshua Green, Sam Adetunji, Kezia Williams;
  • Community: Colin Kaepernick, Ibram X Kendi, Raquel Willis, Alicia Garza, Brandon Fleming, Diamond Stylz, Remoshay Nelson, Brittney Cooper, Mariah Moore, Ajon Crump, Muffy Mendoza, Jessamyn Stanley, Devin Michael Lowe, Sasha Alexander, Aisha Nyandoro, Madeline Swegle, Carter Brown, Derecka Purnell, Reva McPollom, Kimberly Jones, Phillip Atiba Goff, Patrisse Cullors, Arabia Mollette, Arisha Hatch, Phillip McHarris, Foluso Fakorede, Kyndra Frazier, Nicolette Louissaint;
  • Entertainment: Sarah Cooper, Jasmyn Lawson, Misha Green, L.L. McKinney, Angelica Ross, Kendrick Sampson, Issa Rae, Jeremy Pope, George M. Johnson, Tre’vell Anderson, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Bozoma Saint John, Heather Lowery, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Jermaine ‘FunnyMaine’ Johnson, Domo Wells, Kirk A. Moore;
  • Media: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Yamiche Alcindor, Chiney Oguwumike, Tiffany Cross, Zerlina Maxwell, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Erica Lovett, Trymaine Lee, David Dennis;
  • Politics: Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Symone Sanders, Angela Peoples, Cameron Webb, Ritchie Torres, Mondaire Jones, Garlin Gilchrist, Jamie Harrison;
  • Science and Technology: Yasicha Robinson, God-Is Rivera, Lauren Maillian, Kameelah Phillips;
  • Sports: Maya Moore, Bubba Wallace, Nneka Ogwumike, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Jason Wright, Brittney Griner, Renee Montgomery, Nicole LaPointe Jameson, Andrew Berry, Ashleigh Johnson;
  • STEM: Rob Gore, Moogega Stricker, Janina Jeff, Annette Grotheer, Kenneth Harris II.

About The Root
At 12-years-old, The Root is the leading African American news source in America, reaching more than 10 million visitors per month with editorial featuring biting commentary, opinion, breaking news and culture content. Co-founded in 2008 by preeminent scholar Henry Louis Gates, The Root seeks to uplift conversations that often go unheard outside of our communities.

About G/O Media
G/O Media reaches more than a third of all Americans online each month with over 100 million unique visitors, including its extended network. This collection of digital-first brands serves a young, diverse audience with content that reflects their shared values and passions, including category-leading sites focused on tech and science (Gizmodo); pop culture and entertainment (The A.V. Club); sports news (Deadspin); car culture (Jalopnik); modern women’s interests (Jezebel); gaming  (Kotaku); lifestyle (Lifehacker); food and drink (The Takeout); African American news and culture (The Root); humor and satire news (The Onion); and e-commerce (The Inventory).


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11th-Annual Root 100

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