TIME has shared its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The 2020 edition features pioneers, artists, leaders, icons, and titans who have had the most impact this year, including The Weeknd and Megan Thee Stallion, who both cover the magazine alongside influencers such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union.
In her powerful tribute, Taraji P. Henson honors Megan for her accomplishments and resilience, while acknowledging her recent shooting. “I don’t like to put the stigma of the word strong on Black women because I think it dehumanizes us, but she has strength–strength through vulnerability,” Henson says of the 25-year-old Houston rapper. “She’s lost much of her family–her mother, her father, her grandmother–yet she is the epitome of tenacity, of pulling herself up by her bootstraps. She was shot this summer, and still people tried to tear her down. But she’s out here still loving and being sweet.”
Adds Henson, “She’s deep. She’s enrolled in college. She’s an entertainer. She’s a free spirit; I see that in her. The industry might try to pigeonhole her in this rap game, but she’s got a plan that’s much bigger. And we got her. I just want her to keep winning.”
Megan, who scored two No. 1s on the Hot 100 this year for her collaborations with Beyoncé and Cardi B, remains an empowering voice for women. “I love the fact that we have so many women in music right now so I just feel like it’s better to work together because we can really just take over all this,” she said.
The Weeknd received praise from Elton John, who he sampled on his After Hours song “Scared to Live.” “‘Blinding Lights’ is 2020’s best pop single, very ’80s-influenced, but it’s from an album that’s otherwise very introspective,” writes the pop icon. “He has so many different types of music tucked up his sleeve that he incorporates into his vision. He’s not interested in commerciality for commerciality’s sake, but he’s one of the biggest-streaming artists on Spotify. Like Prince, he marches to his own beat. That’s an exemplary way for an artist to be.”
Other 2020 honorees on the TIME 100 include J Balvin, Michael B. Jordan, Halsey, and Jennifer Hudson, who was celebrated by Mary J. Blige.
“Jennifer brings her whole self to everything she does,” says Blige. “It’s a blessing. She has developed such an impressive career as a singer and actor because of her work ethic and her professionalism–and of course her talent. Every time I see her, I acknowledge how great she is.”
See the full 2020 TIME 100 here.