Hip hop mogul and self-proclaimed creative genius Kanye West has been deemed one of the most influential “Titans” by TIME, while the ever-so talented, beautiful and now history-making ballerina Misty Copeland is ranked as the most influential pioneer of her time.
Stars are usually shocked and honored to see their faces on the cover of TIME‘s Most Influential People album, but even the magazine noted that West was probably far from surprised to receive the honor.
In a series of tweets, rants and intricate lyrics, West has made it known that he finds himself to be an incredibly influential creative genius.
“Kim would be the first person to tell you he belongs on this list,” writer Elon Musk noted of the “Blood on the Leaves” rapper.
As much as West falls victim to criticisms by the public, however, it’s only fair to note that he has remained true to his promise to be constantly thinking, provoking and pushing people to challenge society’s standards.
Even when his rants seem shrouded in ego or when his personality comes across as overbearing, it seems like West’s heart tends to be in the right place.
“Every time I say something that’s extremely truthful out loud, it literally breaks the Internet,” he tells the magazine. “So what are we getting the rest of the time?”
It’s West’s own way of pondering why the media seems to fail at exposing truths but never fails to push a political agenda.
While this is in no way advocating for the rapper’s own personal views, especially when it comes to him insisting that racism is dead, West’s skepticism of mainstream society has encouraged his loyal fans to do the same.
That, in his book, is his way of trying to help the community at large.
“I think there are schoolteachers with the exact same mission as me,” he adds. “I think there are police officers with the exact same mission as me. Just help. Just do everything you got, give everything you got. Our focus needs to be less about what our legacy is going to be, or how we’re going to control each other, but more how can we give to each other.”
Fellow Most Influential Person Misty Copeland probably never put a selfish focus on her own legacy either but she has certainly already left one that will likely find its way into history books.
Copeland is being praised as a pioneer by TIME after she became the first Black woman to get the lead in Swan Lake.
Since that major milestone and historical moment in ballet, she has continued to lead the way for more Black girls to thrive in the American Ballet Theater.
“People don’t realize the tremendous amount of time and work you have to put in to do the maneuvers [ballerinas] do,” 5-time Olympian Nadia Comaneci wrote of Copeland. “Ballerinas like Misty Copeland look so beautiful and perfect, but it takes thousands of hours of hard work to make it look that easy.”
It was only fitting that Comaneci penned the article since it was her own story as a ground-breaking gymnast that “inspired a 7-year-old Misty to see the joy in movement.”
Without a doubt, Copeland never fails to use her body and its movement as a true work of art. As an artist, as a ballerina and as a role model, she remains triumphant.
As a Black woman, she continues to prove naysayers wrong and inspire generations of other Black girls who were once discouraged to pursue a career in an art that is currently dominated by white faces.
“Misty proves that success is not about how you grow up or the color of your skin,” Comaneci continues. “Her story—of overcoming personal and physical challenges to become a soloist at the American Ballet Theatre—is the story of someone who followed her dreams and refused to give up.”
For that reason, her influence even goes beyond the young Black girls who now have another beautiful ballerina who looks like them to look up to.
“In that way, she is a model for all young girls,” Comaneci notes. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have the passion like Misty, you can be the best at what you do.”
The other three TIME covers flaunt the famous faces of actor Bradley Cooper, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mexican-American journalist and author Jorge Ramos.