On Wednesday, Time announced their 2021 Time100 Next List, highlighting 100 of the most influential people who are up next and dedicated to shaping the future and defining leadership in their own unique way.
Per a press release sent to The Root, this year’s list features over 50 women, several doctors and public health professionals, emerging leaders dedicated to climate and political change, political figures, and various activists, advocates and philanthropists dedicated to the fight for equality and justice. Also featured are a handful of artists across various mediums who are using their platform to not only entertain the masses, but inspire and educate them as well.
“Amid a global pandemic, deepening inequality, systemic injustice and existential questions about truth, democracy and the planet itself, the individuals on this year’s list provide ‘clear-eyed hope,’ as actor, composer and director Lin-Manuel Miranda puts it in his tribute to poet and Time100 Next honoree Amanda Gorman,” Time CEO and Editor-In-Chief Edward Felsenthal explains. “They are doctors and scientists fighting COVID-19, advocates pushing for equality and justice, journalists standing up for truth, and artists sharing their visions of present and future.”
As usual, Time selected a diverse group of individuals to grace the cover. The 6 figures chosen this year include New York Times bestselling author Brit Bennett, fashion designer Telfar Clemens, professional English football player Marcus Rashford, rising actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, pop artist Dua Lipa, and Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Aside from National Youth Poet Laureate Gorman, other notable honorees who comprise the Time100 Next list include COVID-19 vaccine developer Kizzmekia Corbett, Lovecraft Country’s Misha Green, Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page, CNN Senior Political correspondent Abby Phillip, rapper Lil Baby, comedian Amber Ruffin, actor LaKeith Stanfield, U.S Senator Raphael Warnock, Tenet star John David Washington, activist Jessica Byrd, ChloexHalle, and #EndSARS activists Feyikemi Abudu, Odunayo Eweniyi and Damilola Odufuwa.
Following the ever-popular trend of public figures interviewing public figures (no shade, but actually some slight shade because Black journalists and writers deserve these amazing opportunities, too), this year’s Time100 Next list features dynamic pairings for personal profiles on each honoree. Check out a few snippets of some of those profiles details per Time’s press release:
Tayari Jones on Brit Bennett: “Racial passing, the phenomenon at the core of her astonishing novel The Vanishing Half, is as familiar to American literature as ‘Lush Life’ is to the American songbook. Yet Bennett is informed and inspired by the intensities and complexities of our present moment. If race is a construct, what about gender? What are the limits of self-definition? How can one delineate its wages and costs? In jazz, many artists sing the standards, but in literature only the most gifted can re-voice the classics, rendering them recognizable yet, well, novel. Brit Bennett, take a bow.”
Solange Knowles on Telfar Clemens: “Through his namesake line, he has created a universe of his own that transcends fashion. Where the industry restricts identity with outdated expressions of presentation, correctness and exclusivity, Telfar has created a new language of truth, through design….Telfar’s approach to business and art is an affirmation of how we can fully and confidently show up in the world while uplifting those who have made us who we are.”
Lewis Hamilton on Marcus Rashford: “In 2020, Marcus Rashford took his many talents beyond the football field… to respond to a national crisis: child hunger…. In a year that showed us the power of working together toward a common goal, he was a galvanizing force behind uniting people across the U.K. in the effort to ensure that no child goes hungry.”
Shonda Rhimes on Regé-Jean Page: “You might dream of him, the one we call the Duke of Hastings. But in reality, Regé-Jean Page is finer than fiction and better than any dream. He is that rare actor, one who brings an intensity, an intelligence and a precision to his work, providing endless depth to any scene…. Few actors craft their moments so beautifully—or steal our attention so quickly.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda on Amanda Gorman: “‘What was the poet’s name?’ ‘Who was that incredible young woman?’ I’ll never forget hearing those questions roll through the audience of the Geffen Playhouse in 2018 when Amanda Gorman stepped off the stage. It was a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser for arts and education programs, a night full of boldface names. But as Amanda delivered her tightrope-taut verse with impossible poise, the room was hers. Sitting in the second row that night, I became a fan for life.”
Seth Meyers on Amber Ruffin: “Amber Ruffin has been ready for this moment for a long time, but there’s never been a moment we have needed her more. She’s a hilarious writer, gifted sketch performer, talented singer, so-so dancer (Don’t be mad, Amber! TIME fact-checked it!) and loving truth teller. People have correctly noted that 2020 was not the finest of years, but it did give us The Amber Ruffin Show, and for that we should look back fondly and smile. It’s what Amber would do!”
For the complete Time100 Next list, head on over to time.com/next.