The 2022 TIME100 list has arrived. While figures including Oprah and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson both made the coveted list, it’s also no surprise that the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, graces one of the five covers as the most influential icon of 2022.
For Mary’s TIME profile, Nas wrote remarks and saluted his friend in life and music. “Mary came up the way we all did. She was a voice for us, but she wasn’t like other R&B artists at the time. She became a household name early because she was a hip-hop artist who also sang,” he wrote. “The industry needed someone like that. The streets wanted that. Pop culture wanted that. And she was the one for it because she wasn’t made up. She was the girl around the way with the big earrings. She was like a spokesperson for a particular type of girl coming out of New York and coming out of the streets […] She carved out a lane for herself, and now she can feed the people more than just music…. She became who she’s supposed to be.”
This year, Mary celebrates the 30th anniversary of her debut album, What’s The 411?, and the 25th anniversary of Share My World. She also hosted her inaugural Strength Of A Woman Festival and Summit during Mother’s Day weekend in Atlanta and was honored at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards with the Icon Award.
Among the other 99 influential people on this year’s list are Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson, newly-minted Grammy winners Jazmine Sullivan and Jon Batiste, entertainment mogul Issa Rae, and Oscar winner, Questlove.
“Quinta Brunson is more than a writer, producer, actor, and comedian. She’s a student and a master of her craft. A game changer in network television. Smart and funny as hell, in that order,” wrote LeBron James. “That’s the real beauty of Quinta’s brilliance. Using humor and nuance to connect people over everyday realities in order to improve them—for students, teachers, creators, and everyone who comes after her. Because it’s all about opening doors. Breaking down barriers. And doing it with love, kindness, and compassion. While still being an absolute boss like QB.”
On Jazmine, Amber Riley shared, “From her first single ‘Need U Bad,’ Jazmine Sullivan demonstrated an innate ability to write songs that perfectly capture the stories of so many Black women. Sullivan has a lyrical vulnerability that makes you think she has been reading your journal. She is so deserving of her most recent Grammy win, along with acclaim and other accolades that have been an honor to witness. But the most exciting part of her recent career journey has been that Sullivan has allowed us to share in her journey to self-love, removing herself from the shadows of fear as we can clearly see in her 2021 album ‘Heaux Tales.’”
A Black Lady Sketch Show star and creator Robin Thede highlighted the magic of Issa Rae. “Issa Rae wasn’t born—she was handcrafted by God herself. Or she’s an alien with otherworldly powers. I’m not totally sure which, but how other than a touch of the supernatural can you explain someone who can truly do everything to perfection? […] Even if you don’t have the privilege of knowing her, you feel a familiarity with the woman with the unstoppable cheekbones and infectious laugh. In Insecure, Issa created an instantly archetypal comedy, set to influence generations of shows to come. She taught us that the norm of everyday life is just as dramatic as any superhero storyline and that we can be the heroes of our own lives.”
See the full 2022 TIME100 list here.