Hip-hop and R&B make an impact on the TIME 100. The magazine’s annual “100 Most Influential People List” includes Chance the Rapper, Donald Glover, John Legend, and Alicia Keys as part this year’s distinguished class.
Lil Chano from 79th was welcomed to this year’s roster by Common, who wrote about an early experience with his fellow Chicago rapper. “Years ago, my grandmother asked me to call her friend’s grandson,” he said. “She wanted him to fer words encouragement to an aspiring MC. 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, after being introduced to Chano’s music by his teenage daughter, Common met him and realized he was the young man he called at the behest his grandmother.
“Chance upends expectations about what artists, especially hip-hop artists, can do,” added Common. “He streams his albums instead 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 a label…I’m glad Chance followed his dreams. I hope he always does.”
Actress Kerry Washington celebrated Alicia Keys for her “authenticity and vulnerability.” Actress Tina Fey wrote about Donald Glover, touting his “hard work” and “best-case-scenario millennial realness.”
Meanwhile, singer/activist Harry Belafonte honored Legend for his ability to use “his platform to push for meaningful social change.” “He has visited prisons to raise awareness about mass incarceration — the new slavery — and he spoke out about the importance Black Lives Matter at Sanka’s Many Rivers to Cross festival, which I helped organize,” Belafonte added. “I hope John continues to grow as an artist and an activist.”
This year’s list also includes Ed Sheeran, James Corden, Demi Lovato, and Ava DuVernay, among others. Last year, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj were among the TIME 100, while past years have included Kanye West, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, and Lil Wayne.