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(Alvarez lost her bid for re-election to Kim Foxx, also a 2016 Root 100 honoree.) In August, she examined movement-building from the inside as co-instructor of “Black Organizing for Economic Justice and Police Accountability,” a free workshop at the University of Illinois, Chicago, that breaks down leadership concepts and models for social-justice-minded students and community members.It’s especially critical information for residents in Chicago, and Carruthers continues to lead by example: This summer, she also organized a march to Chicago police headquarters to demand alternatives to traditional policing. Carruthers is national director of Black Youth Project 100, a Chicago-based organization that has been on the front lines of confronting police brutality in the city.With a winning combo of boyish exuberance, laser focus and a wicked jump shot, the relentless competitor suffered a surprising team loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, but the playful family man and all-around good guy is still golden. The Golden State Warriors point guard in May became the NBA's first unanimous MVP in winning the award for a second consecutive season. He passionately prepped for the part, read for the part and repeatedly texted the director to tell him that he wanted the part.When he got it, he rapped and danced Aaron Burr better than Aaron Burr could have rapped and danced himself.But the best part, though, is how this young phenom consistently stands up in the face of injustice and gives back in spades. A beautiful man with a beautiful mind is a hero both on and off the screen.When Williams was honored for his humanitarian work at the 2016 BET Awards, he used his mic time to highlight the urgent fight for black justice, delivering the best two-minute-and-four-second acceptance speech the network ever aired.Apparently, Chadwick Boseman is every (black) man because he has deftly depicted our most talented—from Jackie Robinson and James Brown to jurist Thurgood Marshall.But Boseman also dazzles in the mystical realm, portraying the Black Panther, first in Captain America: Civil War and next in his own vehicle, set to hit theaters in February.
One can never tire of using biblical allusions for “King James” because his story is so epic.Or when you drop a surprise album and the cultural conversation immediately shifts.But more than towering over music, fashion, conversation and vernacular (see: “flawless,” “watta-melon,” “Becky,” “surfbort”), Beyoncé has gracefully metamorphosed into her grown black womanness, armed with outsize talent, synergistic business acumen and an unsparing critique of the current state of things.For his work, Odom was rewarded with a 2016 Tony for best actor in a leading role in a musical, the highlight of a year of special. Odom won a Tony for best lead actor as Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical At just 31, Carruthers is already a veteran organizer as leader of the Black Youth Project 100, a Chicago-based organization with six national chapters made up of queer and cis students and activists ages 18-35, who work to end black criminalization and expand rights for women and the LGBT community.Next up for the apparent history enthusiast: He’s partnering with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for r-Evolution, Dream, based on the sermons and speeches of the Rev. This year, BYP was on the front lines in fighting to remove Cook County (Ill.) State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for failing to prosecute police misconduct and waiting too long to charge Chicago police in the death of Laquan Mc Donald.
Yes, the prodigal son of Akron, Ohio, delivered Cleveland its first-ever NBA title, taking on a Goliath competitor, and winning his third NBA Finals MVP in the process.