The Root unveiled its annual list this week honoring the 100 most influential black leaders, journalists and entertainers.
Reporter Wesley Lowery from The Washington Post garnered a spot on the Root’s 2017 list, as well as The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem at games.
To create the list, the publication measured a person’s work and Twitter followers. A common thread between all of the nominees is their support for Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes.
Unsurprisingly, black conservatives, libertarians and other well-known figures were left off The Root’s list. Even so, these individuals also played a huge role in advocating for the black community.
Here are the top seven black leaders The Root forgot to mention that have arguably had influence this year:
1.) Antonia Okafor
Okafor, a black conservative, speaks at college campuses, advocating for Second Amendment rights, concealed carry rights and the ability for college students to carry on campus as well. She addressed CPAC, a conservative conference, during a panel called “Armed and Fabulous” earlier this year, stared in an NRA commercial and released a video with digital media organization Prager University, detailing her switch from embracing ideas like feminism to fighting for gun rights.
2.) Maj Toure
Toure founded Black Guns Matter in 2015, an organization dedicated to educating urban communities on their Second Amendment rights and how to use a gun properly. Toure has embarked on a 50-state tour to inform folks in the inner city about conflict resolution and how to navigate myriad state gun laws in order to obtain a firearm legally and safely.
3.) Mia Love
Love of Utah was the first black Republican women ever elected to Congress and is the only female Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Love is never afraid to go against the grain: She was the only CBC member to object to discussing the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump. Love is staying true to her conservative values by supporting President Donald Trump’s policy, against the desires of her own constituency, to reduce the control the federal government has over local lands.
4.) Joy Villa
This once relatively unknown singer made a huge splash at the 59th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February, arriving in a blue and white “Make America Great Again Dress.” It was a bold statement in a Hollywood environment that was and still is decidedly anti-Trump.
“I’ve never hidden myself for fear of professional punishment and I wasn’t about to start now,” Villa said.
5.) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
A former WWE star and current movie star, Johnson’s 2017 was especially prosperous when his “Fate of the Furious” (the eighth installment of the “Fast and Furious” series) grossed over a half a billion dollars in its April opening weekend. He may consider running for president in 2020, according to rumors. Johnson, a registered Independent, hasn’t ruled out the idea. He is also the star of the upcoming “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” a sequel of the very popular “Jumanji” released in 1995.
6.) Dave Chappelle
Chappelle came back to the comedy scene after a 12-year hiatus by releasing two Netflix stand-up routines. He touched on race, the 2016 presidential election and identity politics. His Netflix routine received rave reviews with people praising him for being able to address difficult topics.
7.) Benjamin Watson
The tight end for the Baltimore Ravens caught a lot of heat for speaking out against abortion and the effects it has on the black community.
“I do know that blacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood and Sanger in the past was to exterminate blacks. And it’s kind of ironic that it’s working,” he said previously. He also released a book this year aimed at helping men navigate fatherhood.
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