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ASPiRE Announces The World Premiere Of Its Groundbreaking Original TV Series THE ROOT 100

A New Weekly Show Celebrating America's Most Influential Black Leaders Under 45 Chosen by The Root, the Leading Online Source for African-American News & Commentary

ATLANTA, Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

ASPiRE presents a Perez-Brown Media Group production. "THE ROOT 100".  Hosted by CNN Anchor Suzanne Malveaux.  Executive Producer is Keith Brown.  Co-executive Producer is Lynne Robinson

About Suzanne Malveaux
Based in Atlanta, THE ROOT 100 host Suzanne Malveaux anchors weekday editions of CNN's "Newsroom International" and "CNN Newsroom."  For more than a decade Malveaux was a White House correspondent covering Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  She has interviewed all five living Presidents.  Malveaux was recently recognized by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for covering one of the top 50 stories of the century for her coverage of the 2008 Obama campaign.  Recently she was embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan where she covered the attack on the U.S. Embassy.  She also travelled to Rwanda and South Africa.

This year Malveaux won a National Emmy Award for her breaking news coverage of Egypt's revolution.  She also received a Peabody Award for CNN's coverage of the Arab Spring.   Malveaux was named one of "America's Most Powerful Players Under 40" by Black Enterprise magazine, Ebony's "Outstanding Women in Marketing & Communications" and Essence Magazine 2009 Journalist of the Year. Malveaux earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.  An Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow, Malveaux holds four honorary degrees and was awarded an honorary Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. membership.  Malveaux appeared on THE ROOT 100's list in both 2010 and 2011 and is dedicated to promoting research for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

About Omar Wasow
Omar Wasow is a Ph.D. candidate in African-American studies and Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on race and politics.

A co-founder of BlackPlanet.com, a popular social network that became the leading site for African- Americans, Wasow helped grow the network to over three million users a month under his leadership.  Considered an expert in technology, Wasow has worked to demystify technology issues on shows like NBC's "Today Show," CNN's "American Morning" and public radio's "Tavis Smiley" show. Similarly, Wasow tutored Oprah Winfrey in her first exploration of the Net in the 12-part series "Oprah Goes Online."

In 1999, as a result of his active participation in a number of social issues, particularly the charter school movement, Wasow was selected to be a fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generation Leadership program. In fall 2003, a K-8 charter school that Wasow helped found opened in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. In 2007, in recognition of the promise of his academic research, the National Science Foundation selected him for a Graduate Research Fellowship and most recently, the Aspen Institute selected him for the Henry Crown Fellowship. Wasow received his BA in race and ethnic relations from Stanford University. He also holds a master's degree in government and statistics from Harvard University.

About The Root
The Root is the leading online source of news and commentary from an African-American perspective. Founded in 2008 under the leadership of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University, The Root offers a unique take on breaking news, provides solid analysis and presents dynamic multimedia content. The Root raises the profile of black voices in mainstream media and engages anyone interested in black culture around the world. The Root is owned by The Washington Post Company. For more information, visit www.theroot.com, on Twitter @TheRoot247 and on Facebook.

About ASPiRE
ASPiRE is a television network targeted to African-Americans and celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of our past, our now and our next.  ASPiRE offers a diverse programming mix of movies, series and specials featuring music, comedy, drama, faith/inspiration, theater/performing arts, lifestyle and news/information. The network was launched June 27, 2012 by Magic Johnson Enterprises, which acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities.   For more information, visit www.aspire.tv, facebook.com/aspireTV and on Twitter @tvaspire.

About Magic Johnson Enterprises
Magic Johnson Enterprises acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. For more information, visit http://magicjohnson.com/enterprises



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