TIME Magazine released its yearly 100 Most Influential People List today, which features people who, according to TIME editor Nancy Gibbs, “one way or another they each embody a breakthrough: they broke the rules, broke the record, broke the silence, broke the boundaries to reveal what we’re capable of.”
From the President of the United States to a YouTuber, from the Pope to a female UFC fighter, TIME 100 has athletes, entertainers, world leaders, presidential hopefuls, scientists and activists.
The entertainers certainly dominate the TIME 100 list. Some who are included are Gael García Bernal, Priyanka Chopra, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac, Aziz Ansari, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Adele, Alejandro González Iñárritu, among plenty of others.
Country leaders Justin Trudeau, Mauricio Macri, Angela Merckel, Vladimir Putin, François Hollande are acknowledged; as well as presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Drumpf and Ted Cruz.
Christine Lagarde - Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund -, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Nicki Minaj and Priyanka Chopra are the six standouts that have been chosen to appear on the covers of the issues.
Gibbs states, “the people on the list, each in their own way, have lessons to teach. We can debate those lessons; we don’t have to endorse them or agree with them. But the influence of this year’s TIME 100, to my mind, is that down to the last person, they have the power to make us think. And they are using it.”
One thing that is pretty special about this list is that the brief overview for each person recognized is written by a public figure who knows them well. Some of the duos for this edition of the list are Ronda Rousey by Tina Fey, Usain Bolt by Ziggy Marley, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan by Bill and Melinda Gates, Gael García Bernal by Alfonso Cuaron, Nadia Murad by Eve Ensler, Tim Cook by Bob Iger, Gina Rodriguez by Rita Moreno, Mark Rylance by Steven Spielberg, Pope Francis by Joe Biden, Adele by Jennifer Lawrence and Taraji P. Henson by Lee Daniels.
Here are some excerpts of my favourite overviews:
Lin-Manuel Miranda by J.J. Abrams: “Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived, wrote and stars in this breakthrough masterpiece, cementing his place as one of the most miraculous creative minds of our time. Like Alexander Hamilton, Miranda is a powerful reminder that greatness comes from unlikely places. His Puerto Rican parents’ collection of Broadway-musical records was as strong an influence during his New York City upbringing as the hip-hop he would come to love. There is no recipe for genius, but one can see the disparate elements that Miranda has miraculously seized and synthesized, embraced and celebrated, to create something profoundly moving and wholly original. He has redefined the musical and made us see anew the origins of the remarkable experiment called democracy.”
Justin Trudeau by Lorne Michaels: “In politics as in show business, there are three things you need to be successful: talent, discipline and luck. Trudeau clearly has the first two. I wish him luck. I believe he will be a force for good.”
Leonardo DiCaprio by John Kerry: “Leo’s talent is limitless, but his secret has always been pretty simple: he’s real. He does his homework. He knows what he’s talking about. That’s how he takes himself back in time 200 years to create an Oscar-winning, bear-brawling, powerhouse performance in The Revenant. Preparation, authenticity and smarts are at the core of who he is as an artist. But I admire him even more for putting those formidable tools toward becoming such a galvanizing force to protect our planet. Since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has provided grants to conservation projects in more than 44 countries. He has employed his cinematic skills—in front of the lens and behind it—to make films that document our planet’s plight. He has discussed environmental threats directly with world leaders from Vladimir Putin to Pope Francis. And when I invited him to join the State Department’s first global Our Ocean conference, aimed at building collaboration to protect one of our most critical resources, Leo didn’t just show up—he put up millions of dollars for ocean protection as part of the effort.”
Alejando González Iñárritu by Guillermo del Toro: “When most of my film friends call my home and I’m not there, they leave a message—all they want to talk about is movies. But Alejandro will spend 30 or 40 minutes talking to my wife Lorenza about family, cooking and children, because he is interested in life in a voracious way. The principles and the deep humanity that animate his filmmaking also animate his day-to-day interactions. For that he has filled my heart with love and admiration, both as a filmmaker and as a friend.”
And this heartwarming essay by Jennifer Pinckney - a survivor of the 2015 shooting in Charleston, S.C., that killed her husband, Rev. Clementa Pinckney – about President Barack Obama: “At one point during my husband’s funeral service, while watching my daughters, President Obama said to Mrs. Obama, “Look at those girls. Don’t they remind you of ours?” It hit home for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the thought had crossed his mind: Where would my girls be if something happened to me?
President Obama and my husband were two God-fearing, charismatic black men dedicated to public service and to their wives and two daughters. They were both voices for the voiceless who got up with smiles when they got knocked down. Of course, there were differences. President Obama loves basketball, and Clem was a terrible athlete!
And, of course, my husband wasn’t the President. He might have gone on to be a bishop or a Congressman. Who knows? As President Obama exhorted us, we hold on to him—all of us, even the President, I believe—because through that love, God is with us.”
You can see the full list and read all profile essays here. The issue will be available on newsstands this Friday.