TIME magazine’s 2021 “Most Influential People” list has dropped, and a few Hip-Hop artists and influencers have made the list. Some of them have been on the list before and some have popped up for the very first time.
Can you guess who in the Hip-Hop or Black community is considered the most influential?
On the Icon list, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has topped the list (and for good cause). The two fearlessly abandoned the pomp and circumstance of the British monarch to step into their own lanes. They also outed their bigoted haters in a way that not only shook up the world but made it see an ugly truth it probably would not have seen without the disruption.
Another ugly truth exposed by a member on this Icon list was the tendency for Black people to ignore their mental wellness for the folly of other communities. Naomi Osaka took that cause and ran with it. Now everyone is talking about mental health!
On the Pioneer list, civil rights attorney Ben Crump has made the list for his steadfast championing of people of color. Whether he is comforting a family or challenging law enforcement, he does this with a touch that is not only warm, but sincere.
The Titans list featured Simone Biles, who like Osaka refused to allow anyone to tell her she was “OK,” when she was not. So, she too spoke, echoing in action what Lauryn Hill sang about when she performed “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind.”
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz are on the list for the work they did with bringing to the world battle culture in the form of Verzuz. The duo built an empire off of an idea that they had before the pandemic. With their genius and a few of their celebrity friends, they changed the game and have increased the stock of artists that many counted out. It is not only the hottest streaming show on the gram, it is also one of the hottest tickets to get. The Lox vs. The Dipset episode actually sold out Madison Square Garden.
Say what you want but Nikole Hannah-Jones belongs to Hip-Hop. Everything about her from her bright red hair to her brash “take me or leave me” attitude screams Public Enemy and Fight the Power! When her 1619 Project her rejected by the last president and his GOP roadies, it cause the university that she worked with not to give her tenure. She basically said, “Oh, ok. Word?” Then accepted a position at the prestigious Howard University. In the words of HU alum Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, “Take that … take that.”
Artists have their own section on the list. It’s not surprising that names like Daniel Kaluuya (from Judas and The Black Messiah) is up there nor Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish). Those too are incredibly influential and we all know that.
But … to see Lil Nas X (article penned by Kid Cudi) and Bad Bunny (with a write-up submitted by J Balvin), on the list ensured rap music’s most outrageously unique artists have been highlighted. Surely, no one can dismiss Lil Nas X’s impact on pop culture and his influence over not just people but business and the marketplace. He will be on there for years to come.
The Leaders list features the Vice President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams. The way they defeated the odds shifted the way that Black women are seen in politics. The two women, both from HBCUs, step into an arena dominated by men and made it pink (well Harris made it pink and green).
Also on the list is former president, Donald Trump. Don’t be shocked, he caused a whole treasonous revolt on the nation’s capital.
Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris have also made the list for the groundbreaking content that they have produced with their Red Table Talk series. Gritty. Bold. Unapologetic. Real. It is everything that one might want to lace over a dope sample and drumbeat. Instead, we get this fire acapella but filled with the music of Black women’s truth.
TIME magazine is a staple in American culture and to see our faces sprinkled all over it is a pure delight. For the entire list, please click here.