Influence can be a tricky thing to quantify. It shifts from place to place, person to person. But each year, TIME Magazine takes on the seemingly impossible task of naming 100 individuals who are actively shaping the world we live in. Crisscrossing between art, politics, activism, and business, TIME's list is one of the most eclectic honors today. This year's list features several bold and refreshing voices.
In one of the most enjoyable aspects of the tradition, the publication invites peers to reflect on the influence of their friends and collaborators. This offers tender insights into extraordinary friendships, and reminds us that even icons get star-struck. From From A$AP Rocky and Raf Simons to Common and Chance the Rapper, find some of our favorite shout-outs below.
Common on 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."
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."
Jared Leto on Alessandro Michele
"Yves, Karl, Gianni, Giorgio, Christian, Coco. It's rare that a new name can be added to such an illustrious list. But Lallo, as he is known to his closest friends, has more than earned his place. I have witnessed firsthand the amount of thought, care, and passion he puts into everything he creates. It's inspiring to behold.
People don't just like Gucci. They desire it. And I think it's because they have some sense that Alessandro Michele pours his heart into every single thing he does, and shares with us that ever-so-elusive and powerful ingredient — love."
Tina Fey on Donald Glover
"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."
A$AP Rocky on Raf Simons
"I feel like Raf Simons is important for the culture based on the fact that he built a whole new religion around fashion. It's to the point where kids, male and female alike, will get in full arguments over why he's the greatest. And it's amazing how his prior work, his archive, is more important and relevant than anything that's out today."
Miranda July on Cindy Sherman
"The victim, the psycho bitch, the good wife. Lady readers will know what I mean when I say we are supposed to embody these roles, but unknowingly, so as not to ruin the mood. It's this mood that Cindy Sherman's role-playing self-portraits have disrupted and repurposed over the past 40 years. Her photographs always beguile at first — She's so pretty! So sad! So crazy! — but in the next moment we remember, 'She' took this picture."
Kathryn Bigelow on Barry Jenkins
"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."
Kirsten Gillibrand on 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.
And it happened because four extraordinary women — Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour — had the courage to take on something big, important, and urgent, and never gave up. Because of their hard work, millions of people got off the sidelines, raised their voices, and marched."
Naomi Campbell on RuPaul
"Through RuPaul's Drag Race, which recently premiered on VH1 after eight seasons on Logo, millions more people are getting to know Ru like I do. It's incredible what he's done for the drag queens who compete on that show — bringing them out, introducing them to a mainstream audience, and letting them be proud of who they are and what they want to be.
I am blessed to know Ru. We all are."
Check out the full list here.
Text Wendy Syfret
Photography Dan Jackson
Fashion Director Alastair McKimm