Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Justin Timberlake, Miguel, and Christina Aguilera are just as influential as President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence — at least according to TIME magazine.
The weekly publication has unveiled its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and all of the aforementioned pop stars made the cut. How heartening to see the man behind SPIN’s Best Album of 2012, the sublime channel ORANGE, get a newsworthy shout-out from a major media outlet! TIME drafted celebrities to write the 100 Influential paragraphs, and John Legend was tapped to rep for Frank Ocean. He gushes, “Frank is brilliant… He has the talent, the ability and the brilliance to have an impact for a long time. He will follow his muse wherever it goes — he’s not the kind of artist to adhere to everyone else’s schedule. That’s what makes him special.” Well said, sir.
While Jay, Bey, and the newly relevant again JT are no-brainers for a zeitgest-reaching conversation-starter such as this, the nod to Miguel comes as a bit of a surprise. The Kaleidoscope Dream crooner is certainly worthy — as TIME critic Douglas Wolk puts it, the 27-year-old PBR&B singer traffics in “constant innovation, formal daring, unexpected sources of inspiration, and emotional directness” — but since when was TIME only a few months behind the curve? Maybe they caught Miguel’s vicious Saturday Night Live appearance.
Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann penned the ode to Beyoncé, and Stevie Wonder shared his thoughts on Timberlake. The biggest to do, though, came from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg writing about Jay-Z:
“[Jay-Z is] an artist-entrepreneur who stands at the center of culture and commerce in 21st century America, and his influence stretches across races, religions and regions,” Bloomberg writes. “In nearly everything he’s tried, he’s found success. (He even put a ring on Beyoncé.) And in doing so, he’s proved that the American Dream is alive and well.”
All good points, but Mike forgot one key thing: Jay’s so outrageously famous and successful that when he raps about going on vacation, even President Obama has to comment on it. That’s influence.