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Annual Root 100: Most influential African Americans of 2021


Vaccine developer tops list

The Root, one of the largest sites covering Black news, announced the selection of its 12th-annual Root 100 List, featuring one hundred of the most influential African-American innovators, public figures, community leaders, change agents and activists of 2021. 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 Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist who worked closely on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Other notable names include congresswoman Cori Bush, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, the late actor Chadwick Boseman and WNBA Legend Candace Parker.

The 2021 list of honorees focuses on those who are the very definition of the ultimate game-changers. Each person on the list has carved out a unique space in their respective industries that no one else could fill, and in doing so, have set an example for legions to follow.

The Root’s editorial team utilizes a unique algorithm to select the winners. With this comprehensive and proprietary methodology, editors weighed hundreds of publicly-submitted nominees by calculating honorees reach (the people they touch through media along with Twitter and Instagram followers) and substance (the impact of their work), graded on a scale of 0 to 10 to determine their influence, which calculates their ranking.

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

“This year’s Root 100 honors geniuses (literally) and grassroots organizers, athletes and activists, and so many more. It is the diversity of the list that makes it so impressive, but is the contributions of those selected that make it so meaningful,”  said Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief at The Root.

To learn more about The Root 100 awards and to view the full list of winners, visit