To Be Young, Gifted and Black: The Root 100 Gala Honors Black Excellence

For an unapologetic celebration of black excellence, tune into The Root 100 gala, airing on Fusion TV on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. Based on The Root 100 list, the gala celebrates black achievements in entertainment, activism, the arts, sports, media, politics, business, and science and technology.

Since 2009, the black news and culture website’s editors have compiled a list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. This year’s power broker list was topped by director, producer and writer Jordan Peele, with the top five rounded out by singer-songwriter Solange Knowles, director Barry Jenkins, director Ava DuVernay and journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

“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,” The Root’s editor-in-chief Danielle Belton said in a statement.

“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.”

Annually, the list of movers and shakers is celebrated with a red carpet gala.

Hosted by CNN analyst Angela Rye – accompanied by her beau, rapper and actor Common — and Extra correspondent A.J. Calloway, the televised event features commanding performances by Raheem DeVaughn and Rapsody, with an appearance from California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Rye is also an honoree and the sassy political commentator told The Root, “It feels really amazing to be recognized in a group of people I love so much.”

Other gala honorees include comedian and activist Franchesca Ramsey; Haitian-American New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor; and Nomadness Travel Tribe founder Evita Robinson (who was presented with a special award from the event’s sponsor, the 2018 Toyota Camry).

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