ATLANTA – ASPiRE today announced the world premiere of its new original series, THE ROOT 100. Hosted by Emmy-winning television journalist and CNN Anchor Suzanne Malveaux, the weekly show is based on online news and commentary site The Root’s (www.theroot.com) fourth annual list of 100 of the most influential African-American innovators of the next generation (age 25-45). Featuring first-hand interviews and video profiles of 24 of the list’s honorees, THE ROOT 100 explores the lives and groundbreaking accomplishments of these dynamic men and women. The eight-episode series airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning Dec. 5.
Each one-hour episode features profiles of three honorees, woven together by a common theme. In revealing conversations with Omar Wasow, contributing editor to The Root and creator of THE ROOT 100’s ranking system, the subjects discuss intimate moments, turning points in their lives and their aspirations to affect change. Through these inspirational stories, the series provides insight into what it really takes to pursue one’s passion and achieve success with meaning and purpose.
“THE ROOT 100 presents a fascinating look at two dozen diverse and extraordinary African-Americans, who are using their voices and platforms to fundamentally change our community and our world for the better,” said ASPiRE General Manager Paul Butler. “ASPiRE and The Root share the same commitment to celebrate and recognize the breadth and depth of African-American thought and achievement in the 21st century.”
“We are thrilled ASPiRE is joining with us to celebrate this group of gifted and passionate African- Americans, who are making tremendous contributions in fields including journalism, science, technology, the arts, culture, politics, social justice, and so many others,” said Donna Byrd, publisher, The Root. “This unique and uplifting television series will bring The Root’s annual list to a wider audience and allows viewers to learn more about this new generation of black leaders.”
Luminaries profiled on the show will include journalist Melissa Harris Perry (#1 on the list), NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Jealous (#3), Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (#6), comedian Baratunde Thurston (#20), actress and activist Gabrielle Union (#22), Sundance award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay (#29), political insider Valeisha Butterfield-Jones (#31), journalist Tamron Hall (#33), tech entrepreneur Angela Benton (#34), singer and HIV activist Jamar Rogers (#39), former NFL player and LGBT youth advocate Wade Davis Jr. (#46), jazz pianist Jason Moran (#69), Facebook executive Kay Madati (#79), Rev. Delman Coates (#81), author and TV host Toure (#87), Hollywood studio executive Devon Franklin (#95), fashion designer Natalia Allen (#99), and Hill Harper (#53 2011 list).
THE ROOT 100 series premiere (episodes 1 – 6) schedule is as follows:
- The Advocates (Series Premiere, December 5, 2012) – The premiere episode profiles three passionate activists, Melissa Harris Perry, Benjamin Jealous and Gabrielle Union, dedicated to speaking out on behalf of “the 47 percent,” people of color and breast cancer awareness, respectively.
- Entertainment (Premiere, December 12, 2012) –The second episode in the series focuses on three influential and respected communicators: journalist Tamron Hall, musician Jason Moran and actor/author Hill Harper.
- Bold Stands (Premiere, December 19, 2012) – The third episode in the series focuses on individuals who have made bold moves for equality and diversity: Reverend Delman Coates, Toure, Wade Davis II.
- Empowering Artists (Premiere, December 26, 2012) – The series’ fourth episode profiles three individuals who move audiences to act: Beverly Bond, DJ and Founder of Black Girls Rock; Ava DuVernay, the first African-American female to win Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival, and Jamar Rogers, HIV/AIDS activist and former contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”
- The Leaders (Premiere, January 9, 2013) – The fifth episode in the series profiles leaders in their fields: chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Columbia Pictures Studio executive and Pastor Devon Franklin.
- The Innovators (Premiere, January 16, 2013) – The sixth episode in the series profiles individuals leading the way in their fields including clothing designer and Environmentalist Natalia Allen, tech guru Angela Benton and digital media expert Baratunde Thurston