Quinta Brunson, Issa Rae, and Oprah Winfrey Among Most Influential People of 2022

Quinta Brunson, Issa Rae, and Oprah Winfrey Among Most Influential People of 2022

It’s always a good time to celebrate influential Black people. TIME‘s 100 most influential people of 2022 has been published, categorized by artists, innovators, titans, leaders, icons, and pioneers.

From geopolitical notables to entertainers, the annual star-studded list highlights an incredible group of luminaries who have taken on new importance after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. TIME also featured distinguished guest contributors who wrote profound tributes to the honorees.

Among those honored were Burkinabé architect Francis Kéré, Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige, award-winning actress Issa Rae, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, WNBA star Candace Parker, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia MottleyAbbott Elementary mastermind Quinta Brunson, Grammy-award winner Jazmine Sullivan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Here are some of the honorees and penned tributes:

Francis Kéré

(Image: Diébédo Francis Kéré; photo courtesy of Lars Borges)

Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye wrote in part:

“He is a trailblazer for his long-­standing commitment to ­formalizing space for both social and environmental good, and in this sense, his legacy lives not just in his built work but also in his general practice and methodological spirit.”

Oprah Winfrey

( Image: Instagram)

Former first lady Michelle Obama wrote a tribute to honoree Oprah Winfrey:

“Whether she’s talking to pop stars, Presidents, schoolgirls, scholars—or she’s asking you about your life over a glass of wine in the living room—Oprah has always had that uncanny ability to open us up, to hear beyond our words, and to uncover a higher truth, to be vulnerable with us in a way that allows us to be vulnerable back. That’s her secret. But what I love most about Oprah is that she has never been content to keep it for herself.”


Quinta Brunson

(Photo:  Rozette Rago)

Four-time NBA champion LeBron James honored Brunson:

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. She’s a Swiss Army knife that can—and does—do it all.”


Mia Mottley

Photograph by Camila Falquez for TIME

Honoring Mottley, World Trade Organization director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala wrote in part:

“Mia Mottley is an icon in her country, having won re-election by a landslide. The Prime Minister strides boldly on the world stage. She is an embodiment of our conscience, reminding us all to treat our planet, and therefore one another, with love, dignity, and care.”

See the full TIME 100 most influential people of 2022 list here.