TIME Honors Donald Glover, Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper on 100 Most Influential People of 2017 List

Every year, TIME Magazine presents a list of people they view as the most influential in the world and given the prestige that comes with the veteran publication, it’s a title that honorees hold in high regard. About a week ago, TIME announced their picks for their annual 100 Most Influential People list. Among the many that were awarded with the title of “Most Influential” were several familiar POC faces, including Chance the Rapper, Jordan Peele, Alicia Keys, Donald Glover, John Legend, LeBron James, Viola Davis, and more!


Per TIME, “Our annual list of the 100 Most Influential People explores the intersection of accomplishment and renown. As in years past, this year’s list includes Presidents and Prime Ministers, CEOs and celebrities — but they are joined by others of less fame but great force, in the power of their inventions, the scale of their ambitions, the genius of their solutions to problems that no one before them could solve.”

What resulted was a very diversified list, broken down into five categories: Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans, and Icons. Each entry forewent the usual who, what, where biography of the person and instead included an excerpt written by people who knew each honoree personally, which made for a more emotional connection with the person being read about.

Chance the Rapper, who was named as a Pioneer, was revealed to have a surprising connection to conscious hip-hop rapper Common who had this to say about the honoree:

Years ago, my grandmother asked me to call her friend’s grandson. “I want you to give him some words of encouragement,” she said. “He wants to be a rapper.” She gave me his number, and I left him a message. I told him to keep following his dreams. Then I forgot all about it.

Years later, my teenage daughter played me a new mixtape she loved from an artist named Chance the Rapper. There was something unique and soulful about it—I could tell he really knew hip-hop. And when I first met him, I realized that he knew me too. “You won’t remember this,” he said, “but you called me when I was a kid.”

Read Common’s full essay on Chance here

In regards to songtress and TIME Artist Alicia Keys, actress Kerry Washington had this to say about her:

Alicia Keys’ debut, Songs in A Minor, infused the landscape of hip-hop with a classical sensibility and unfolded the complexity of being young, gifted, female and black for a new generation. Alicia became an avatar for millions of people, always remaining true to herself.

Since then, Alicia has continued to evolve as an artist, an advocate and a person. And we have grown with her.

Read Kerry’s full essay on Alicia here.

Donald Glover, who has seen incredible success with the FX show Atlanta that he created and helped write, was also named as a TIME Artist. His former boss Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey had a very poignant tale to say about the rapper/actor:

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.

Read Tina’s full essay on Donald here

Find out who else is on TIME’S Most Influential People of 2017 by clicking here.

Photo Credit: PR Photos

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.