Every year since 1999, Time Magazine has published a list of the 100 most influential people of that particular year. The people on the list are recognised for changing the world (sometimes negatively, but mostly positively). Influence is hard to measure but to the selection committee of the TIME 100, influence refers to people whose trailblazing ideas, exceptional talents, or ground-breaking discoveries have transformed the world we live in. The list has included figures like Barack Obama (listed 11 times), Oprah Winfrey (listed 10 times), Steve Jobs (listed 5 times), and LeBron James (listed 4 times). Some of the names on the list have been questionable (again, people can be listed even if the influence they have isn’t necessarily good) including Donald Trump, Kim Jong-il, and Bill Clinton. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting an abrupt halt on social gatherings all around the world, Time has opted out of its TIME 100 Gala for this year and is instead hosting a series of talks online by some of 2020’s most influential figures.
The TIME 100 talks series, available on time. com, broaches some uncomfortable topics and questions that people have, and allows experts from the relevant fields to discuss and answer. Mark Cuban talks about resuming the US’ NBA season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts like Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Robert Redfield discuss what the coronavirus could look like during winter and how the pandemic is progressing in various parts of the world. There are timely discussions on issues of systemic racism and police reform with voices like Nancy Pelosi, Reverend William Barber, John Legend, and sports stars Maya Moore and Malcolm Jenkins. There are also discussions on how the pandemic is affecting several different communities, including those in the performing arts (with Broadway star Ben Platt) and the fashion industry, hosted by Christian Siriano whose haute couture brand has stopped producing evening gowns and started working on face masks. Laverne Cox speaks about the importance of increasing visibility of transgender narratives.
There are politicians, celebrities, scientists, drag queens, sports stars, and activists. These talks are on issues that are of cardinal importance, not just now, but for the future too. The people in the talks are sharing their views, research and experience, with the hopes that it will bring about some collaboration between them and others to help build the future together. Visit time.com to see the full catalogue and learn from some of 2020’s most influential figures.
Image: Cletus Mulaudi