This year’s Root 100 award ceremony was held at the exquisite Guastavino’s banquet hall in New York City, where a room full of media professionals, activists, entertainers, government officials and business executives gathered to honor 100 of the year’s most influential African-American trailblazers across several industries.
Hosted by accomplished journalist and media personality Bomani Jones, this year’s gala opened with a moving performance from the Apt 33 dance group to the tune of Common and John Legend’s Grammy Award-winning anthem “Glory.”
Throughout the night, presenters honored the best of the best in Black excellence with a list that included the likes of Ava DuVernay, Colin Kaepernick, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Angela Rye, LeBron James, Kim Foxx, John Legend, Diamond Reynolds, Ryan Coogler, Alicia Garza, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Issa Rae, to name a few. Several of the evening’s honorees took to the stage to say a few words before the night was over and a highlight among those who addressed the crowd were the powerful words of encouragement and affirmation from former Bernie Sanders press secretary Symone Sanders.
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Speaking briefly to the room, the 26-year-old political strategist and commentator challenged attendees to take pride, confidence and purpose in knowing that that the ability to bring about change lies in the hands of the African-American community now more than even.
“We are in unprecedented times,” Sanders said. “It is on us to change things.”
She later elaborated on the value of today’s youth and the level of influence young people had on the political landscape in 2016.
“It is young people who monumentally changed the course of American politics over the last year,” she added. “And is extremely important that we remember to keep it truth to power.”
You can get a full recap of the evening, as well as a look at who else made this year’s Root 100 list, here.