A Few Of The Folks Who Actually Belong On The TIME 100 List
Last week TIME released their list of 100 Most Influential People — and with a list that long there are bound to be more than a few bad apples in the bunch. Sorry but we’re not here for Trump, his son-in-law, daughter, Bannon, Reince Priebus or any other element of the evil empire. The folks at TIME did balance out Agent Orange by including folks like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, but let’s be honest — we’re not here for them either.
If you want to see the full TIME list you can check it out HERE.
Hit the flip to see who we think were the best picks, and don’t get mad because Emma Stone didn’t make our cut but Sarah Paulson did.
Miles Aldridge for TIME
Chance The Rapper
Chance upends expectations about what artists, especially hip-hop artists, can do. He streams his albums instead of selling them. He makes music from an unapologetically inspiring and Christian perspective—music that transcends age, race and gender. He gives back to his Chicago community. And he does it all as an independent artist, without the support of a label.
I’m glad Chance followed his dreams. I hope he always does.
Barry Jenkins on Jordan Peele: “… [R]ather than presenting us a mirror, this multihyphenate auteurist shows us more of ourselves than we ever wanted to see, a window through which America is left no choice but to recognize the purgatory of her own sunken place.”
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Proud,humbled, and inspired to be one of the covers for @time magazine #100mostinfluentialpeople – thanks to the editors, you guys, my friends, family, and all my amazing team for your support over the course of a rollercoaster year. I hope to earn this in the months and years to come and justify your faith in me. 🙏🏽👊🏽
Lin-Manuel Miranda on Riz Ahmed: “Look, Riz Ahmed has been quietly pursuing every passion and opportunity for many years as an actor (The Road to Guantánamo, Four Lions, Nightcrawler), rapper (“Post 9/11 Blues,” “Englistan”) and activist (raising funds for Syrian refugee children, advocating representation at the House of Commons). To know him is to be inspired, engaged and ready to create alongside him. The year 2016 was when all the seeds he planted bore glorious fruit, and here’s the best part: he’s just getting started.”
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Special thanks to @time for including me on the #time100 list, along with my dynamic partners @lsarsour @msladyjustice1 @bobblandofficial. The recognition for our work and sacrifice is truly humbling! While we are on the list…know that so many people gave their all to make the #womensmarch happen. This is for all of us! #letswork
Women’s March organizers Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour
“The Women’s March was the most inspiring and transformational moment I’ve ever witnessed in politics. It was a joyful day of clarity and a lightning bolt of awakening for so many women and men who demanded to be heard…This is the rebirth of the women’s movement. These women are the suffragists of our time. And our movement isn’t going away—it’s just the beginning.”
From the first page of Colson Whitehead’s extraordinary novel The Underground Railroad I knew I was reading something ground-shifting. I’ve been a student of African-American history since about age 14, and I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about slavery and the Freedom Train. But that’s what’s so powerful about great literature: it deepens your perspective, opens your consciousness and allows you to be in the shoes of its characters, journeying alongside them.
In the year since I first read this book, it has been affirming to see how it’s been embraced, winning the Pulitzer Prize and becoming a No. 1 best seller. I believe that’s because Colson has a vision about what it means to make art. He didn’t just write a historical novel about slavery and courage and the beating heart of freedom. Although the struggle continues and our challenges are not behind us, the brilliance of his vision is that he reminds us that, like his heroine Cora, we can never give up hope, can never stop trying.
Taylor Swift on Ed Sheeran: “A few years ago, in a rare moment of admitting feeling defeated, Ed said to me, ‘I’m never going to win a Grammy.’ Yes, you are, I said. You’re going to sweep the whole thing one of these years… A few weeks later… [he] said, ‘You have to hear this.’ It was a song he’d just finished called ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ which would go on to win Song of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards.”
Last year, Alicia sparked a #NoMakeup movement. She expressed her desire to go makeup-free, released her single “In Common” with bare, gorgeous cover art and began making public appearances with the same beautiful commitment. Why? Because Alicia doesn’t hide her truth, her flaws, her dreams or her journey.
It is that authenticity and vulnerability that endear her to us. We are drawn to her honesty, we respect and adore her, and in doing so, we move closer to embracing our own true selves.
In the entertainment industry, there is intense pressure to conform in order to create an easily marketable product. But if you listen to Alicia’s music, learn about her Keep a Child Alive foundation or witness her life, you know that she is not a product of anyone but God, her family and her truth.
When Donald Glover started as a staff writer on 30 Rock, he was still living as an RA in a dorm at New York University. He worked hard and contributed a lot of good jokes. After a few years, he requested a meeting with me and fellow producer Robert Carlock. Donald was grateful for the opportunity but felt like he should leave to pursue acting. Of the many writers who have suggested this over the past 20 years, Donald is the only one with whom I’ve ever agreed. One hundred percent, he should go be a star.
Now Donald is serving you best-case-scenario millennial realness. He embodies his generation’s belief that people can be whatever they want and change what it is they want, at any time. When you’re tired of starring in a network comedy, take a break to pursue your rap career for a Grammy nomination. When you’ve learned all you can from acting in other people’s movies, sit down and create your own piece of art.
This could have easily presented itself as a clothing line or one really good painting. Instead, Donald gave us “Atlanta,” a TV series that is basically him: funny, beautiful, stylish, melancholy and startlingly confident.
But as any good millennial knows, when your creation wins 10-plus major awards, you don’t rush into Season 2. You step back, take a breath and just, like, be Lando Calrissian or something.
It wasn’t just the comedy that drew me close to Leslie Jones. Although her brand—edgy, insightful and honest—is the kind I lean to.
It wasn’t just the bonhomie, the easy friendship and the shared sense of gratitude.
It wasn’t just the beauty, though it radiates from her unchecked.
It was, in fact, the kindness, the thoughtfulness and the way she owns all of who she is.
She stalks the audience from the stage and in front of the cameras. Like the comedy greats throughout history, she’s there to give, and what she is prepared to give is all of who she is.
All the absurdity and pathos of being human. All the joy of having a heart that big. She’s going to be the person who says out loud what you were thinking, when you didn’t even realize you thought like that.
Yes, it was Leslie Jones who drew me close to Leslie Jones.
Venus Williams on Ava Duvernay: Ava’s point of view is fresh, it’s inspiring, it’s original, it makes people’s heads turn. But she also embraces other people’s perspectives. When we worked together, Ava was able to integrate herself into my life and see things through my eyes. It takes a very special person to do something like that.
Ava makes it her mission to tell important stories, from Selma to her prison documentary 13th, and to empower important storytellers—by choosing only female directors to helm each episode of her OWN show, Queen Sugar, for example. She’s opening doors, and that’s courageous.
Barry Jenkins is one of the rare artists who are willing to look into the deeper places of themselves and society in order to provide a lens through which we may discover the humanity at our core. And he has come to the attention of the world at precisely the right moment, just when we most need someone to give voice to those who have not been heard.
From his first feature, Medicine for Melancholy, to Moonlight, which he wrote and directed, each film tells an important and timely story that brings you into its world. He not only knows where he is coming from, but he has the gift of being able to show you that place and make you understand it—from capturing the literal colors of a city to the deep untold anguish of a young boy searching for his place.
Cate Blanchett on Sarah Paulson: “When someone is as unique and unboxable as Sarah Paulson, it takes time for creative spaces to open up that are large and porous enough to hold the depth and complexity of her talent. In remaining true to her distinct voice, she has been at the forefront of a generation of women who are changing the landscape of the film and television industry… When I first met her, on the set of Carol, I was floored by her buoyancy, her irreverence, her left-field sense of humor and her devotion to her craft. You enter a scene with Sarah and it’s game on. She brings with her, in work as in life, the sense that anything is possible. Anything.”
Harry Belafonte on John Legend: “John uses his platform to push for meaningful social change, and the depth of his commitment is to be admired. He has visited prisons to raise awareness about mass incarceration—the new slavery—and he spoke out about the importance of Black Lives Matter at Sankofa’s Many Rivers to Cross festival, which I helped organize. I hope John continues to grow as an artist and an activist.”
Kerry James Marshall
Grant Hill On Kerry James Marshall:
For too long, the contributions of black people in American society have been ignored, marginalized and denied. Kerry James Marshall confirms and confronts those depictions and omissions with artistic flair, portraying everyday events in black lives. As the rest of the world learned through the stunning retrospective exhibition “Mastry,” Kerry’s narrative paintings are direct, bold and in-your-face views of moments in our lives, and they cannot be ignored. Black is his dominant color, and his persistent, consistent and masterful use of it, in all its palettes, defines, engages and draws countless viewers to each creation. He forces people to assess the American experience through the black experience. In so doing, he has established himself not only among the giants of the black art milieu, but as one of the most influential American artists anywhere.
Kamala Harris on Elizabeth Warren: I first met Elizabeth after the 2008 housing crisis, when we battled the big banks and mortgage lenders together. I witnessed a fierce and fearless fighter, the same progressive champion who oversaw the $700 billion bank rescue and fought to create a consumer-protection agency. Today I’m honored to serve alongside her in the Senate.
In these tough times, Elizabeth Warren persists. And America’s hardworking families are lucky that she does.
Cory Booker on John Lewis: “In the 1960s, Lewis was one of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders, and today he is the last remaining person alive who spoke at the March on Washington. In the decades since, he has shown through his tireless work in Congress that service isn’t a sometimes thing but an all-the-time thing; that leadership isn’t a title or position but a way of life; and that love of country isn’t a verbal profession but something that is evidenced daily in how you live and give and love your countrymen and countrywomen.“
Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? Francis told us in his first interview after being elected Pope: “I am a sinner,” he said. “This the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech.” Before hearing confessions in St. Peter’s Basilica, he kneels in confession himself—because one cannot accompany a suffering world without acknowledging one’s own faults.
The same goes for the church Francis leads. Before being elected Pope, Francis gave a speech to his fellow Cardinals warning against becoming a “self-referential” church, rather than one that goes out of itself to the margins of society to be with those who suffer. That is where God is working in the world and where he calls us to be. This has rung especially true this year, as Francis has spoken out on the need to welcome refugees amid a global crisis.
By making good on his pledge to bring a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers and by investing in the promise of future generations through his foundation, LeBron James has not only bolstered the self-esteem of his native Ohio but also become an inspiration for all Americans—proof that talent combined with passion, tenacity and decency can reinvent the possible. Poetry in motion, indeed.
Meryl Streep on Viola Davis: “Viola has carved a place for herself on the Mount Rushmore of the 21st century—new faces emerging from a neglected mountain. And when she tells the story of how she got from where she was to where she is, it is as if she is on a pilgrimage, following her own footsteps and honoring thahttps://bossip.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=sponsort journey. Her gifts as an artist are unassailable, undeniable, deep and rich and true. But her importance in the culture—her ability to identify it, her willingness to speak about it and take on responsibility for it—is what marks her for greatness
Leslie Jones on Simone Biles: What struck me when I first saw Simone in Rio was how perfect she was at everything. That girl was born to do what she does.
And she is the best at it. Not the best black gymnast, not the best black-girl gymnast. The best gymnast. It really is inspiring. It’s like she’s sending a message to everyone who’s watching: No matter what you’re going through in life or what your circumstances are, you still can be No. 1. You’ve just got to work hard.
Ashley’s firsts will last in our minds forever, permanently imprinted in our skulls that all of our beauty matters.
Yes, Ashley. You did that. And I am beyond proud, in admiration and in awe of your power and influence over so many people’s self-worth.
It is time for everyone to bow down to the fashion industry’s—no, make that beauty’s—new queen.
Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation’s history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.
Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.
“As soon as I saw him, I wanted to know where he was going, because that was where I wanted to be. Ru was different. Not just because he had perfect, precise clothes and makeup, or because he was the only man I knew who could look that good in a wig and heels. There were no rough edges to be found. But as I got to know him better, I got to experience firsthand his wit and his intelligence—he’s like an encyclopedia. And his beauty is far beyond skin-deep.”