Root.com revealed the Root 100 today, listing the 100 Most Influential African Americans in art, politics, sports and business. Described as the public figures and game changers whose work breaks down barriers. Leading off the entire list as the most influential public figure is Jordan Peele, chosen because he wrote, produced and directed Get Out, which they describe as “the most significant movie of the year.” Applauded for not only creating the “most discussed, dissected and memed movie of the year,” the publication also recognized Peele’s record shattering box office debut, and the important race-related issues Peele’s movie addressed.
Actor, writer, producer, rapper, songwriter and comedian Donald Glover also cracked the top ten of the list. According to the website, Root chose him for becoming the first African American to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series. Glover’s series, Atlanta, is making “Best Of” lists all over the world this year, but as the Root noted, Glover is more than just Atlanta. He’s “a metamorphosing, creative chameleon; sometimes Donald Glover, sometimes Childish Gambino, sometimes both simultaneously.” Glover comes in at number 6.
At number 23, the Root recognized Tiffany Haddish who is having a massive breakout year. Haddish just released a Showtime special, She Ready, she was beloved on The Carmichael Show on NBC and received raves all summer long as Dina in the big comedy hit this summer, Girls Trip. Haddish shined despite sharing the screen with heavy hitters Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall. She’s also highly respected by her fellow stand up comedians, and poised to aim even higher in 2018.
Issa Rae rounds out the top 25 for The Root, noted as the “beautiful mind behind HBO’s Insecure.” The hit series was co-created with Larry Wilmore and will be back for a season two. But don’t forget about the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Rae’s outstanding web series and book of the same name. You’ll find Lena Waithe at 41. She’s the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Master of None. 95 other outstanding achievers make the list which recognizes talent from a range of backgrounds.
The Root’s Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton said about the list, “At a time when things may feel at their darkest, these are the individuals providing the light, illuminating our culture, bringing issues out of the shadows and forcing a society, often reticent to deal with racial issues, to fully face the realities of black life in America. Whether one wants to see them or not, their light shines upon all as a beacon commanding our attention and calling our eyes to black brilliance in the face of insurmountable odds. These 100 honorees–from entertainment, the arts, sports, media, politics, business, science and technology–not only represent the best of what America has to offer, they are America, in all its exceptionalism. They are what makes our country great and we should be so bold to listen to what they have to say about love, life, work and art in this country of ours.” Read the full post from the site’s editors here.
The 2017 honorees will be recognized at The Root 100 Gala on November 9, 2017 at Guastavino’s in New York City and the event will air as a prime time special on Fusion TV on November 21.