Time Publishes Annual ‘100 Most Influential People’

Photo courtesy of GildaNSquire, Flickr Creative Commons

Time Magazine published its annual edition of the "100 Most Influential People,” a list that pinpoints figures in the United States and abroad who have had an impact on society. This year, as with every prior year, the magazine honors true leaders in addition to the inclusion of a few head-scratchers. Since 1999, being named among the “Time 100” has been an acknowledgement of achievement for most, however, the publication identifies both positive effect on the world and negative.

Time Magazine attempts to be liberal with its use of the word influential; the list is divvied up in five encapsulating categories including titans, pioneers, artists, leaders and icons.

Topping the titans was musician Kanye West, a similar pick to last year’s titan topper, Beyoncé. West has been a pop culture and musical sensation who has spawned an incredible volume of fans across the world for his uncompromising style and shameless ego. Other recognizable faces within the titans included Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, Mellody Hobson, one of the executives at DreamWorks and strangely Kim Kardashian, West's spouse and reality show star.

One of the commemorative covers, and face of the pioneer category, was ballerina Misty Copeland, an interesting decision. The nominations of the pioneer category are usually reserved for people in the field of science and invention, as well as those involved in the organization of social movements. Emma Watson and Laverne Cox typify the latter, while astronaut Scott Kelly and inventor Brian Chesky embody the former. Copeland was chosen largely because of her pioneering spirit and work ethic that led to a transformation in the sport's ideology toward young women.

The artist section is traditionally reserved for entertainers, and this year’s list proved to be no different. Actor Bradley Cooper was accredited with the top slot, but seemingly could have been interchanged with any of the other out-there selections that marked this category. Entertainers including Amy Schumer, Richard Linklater, Chris Pratt and Tim McGraw were added to the list, and while they seemed relevant in the public sphere, influence is another matter.

The major marks of true influence can be found in the individuals that comprise the leaders list. Many people from different countries made the "Time 100" list in this category. Some include Vladimir Putin of Russia, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Xi Jinping of China. Even more controversial world powers, like Cuba’s Raul Castro and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, made the cut. Jorge Ramos, a journalist, was the most acclaimed leader this year for his tackling of issues within the Hispanic and Latino communities. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush were also included, even though their potential impact will likely be felt in the coming year.

Rounding out the "Time 100" is the icon list, with the top prize given to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is not a household name but has served as a Supreme Court justice since 1993. Other icons noted were soccer superstar Abby Wambach, musician Taylor Swift and Pope Francis.