Looking to politics, entertainment and sport, the Times magazine have revealed the top 100 most influential people of 2019. Categorised by Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Icons and Titans, the annual initiative has been backed by fellow industry leaders, interviewing respective influencers for an aspirational look at today’s popular culture. While the term, ‘influencer’ has been somewhat tarnished thanks to the social media movement, it is a look into the greatest figureheads of our time.
Donald Trump, albeit relatively unpopular amongst society made the list, as did golfer Tiger Woods, Mark Zuckerberg and Dwayne Johnson.
All pioneers in their chosen careers, the 2018/2019 cycle has once again spotlighted LeBron James.
Whilst the basketball player is most commonly known for his epic skills on the court, his philanthropist work in his local community as well as far reaching has put him in great steed in all areas of life. Shaping the lives of young people, particularly in lower socioeconomic circumstances, he has worked to secure funding and a school for disadvantaged Americans and despite being openly critical of US President Donald Trump, he has remained respectful.
“Early heroes will mould a person’s future. LeBron has justified the adulation of millions and millions of young people, thanks to his ability to live up to enormous expectations on the basketball court, his business successes in Hollywood and media, and his new I Promise School for disadvantaged kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
A relatively newcomer in the Hollywood sphere, while Rami Malek has held presence in the film and television world, it wasn’t until his role as Freddie Mercury for Bohemian Rhapsody that he had a platform to speak his mind. Entrusted with the legacy of Queen, Malek fought through criticism surrounding the film with resounding gratitude – and being a first-generation Egyptian immigrant has only helped highlight diversity in the US.
Lastly – although one of many commemorated in the 100 list – Spike Lee too has used his platform in Hollywood to influence society. As a storyteller and highly regarded filmmaker, not only has Lee worked across numerous genres, but has integrated important social contexts into many of them. And as explained by Jordan Peele, an actor, director, producer and Oscar-winning writer:
“Malcolm X was released in November 1992, just a few months after racial injustice had ignited a war on the streets of Los Angeles. 25th Hour was in preproduction in New York when the planes flew into the towers. Spike pivoted and expertly wove the tragedy that befell his (and my) beloved city into his otherwise unrelated movie. But in the time since, no one has captured the spirit and heartbreak of post-9/11 New York as well as he did in the moment. Most recently, BlacKkKlansman fittingly opened on the anniversary of the Charlottesville riots. It was a reminder that even though the Ron Stallworth story was decades old, the hatred he fought was still very fresh. It was also a testament to Spike’s ability as a filmmaker to transcend history.”
The likes of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Michelle Obama and Jacinda Ardern were also named in the list. Visit the website here, to learn of more industry pioneers.