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Britney Spears, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Sudeikis and Lil Nas X among Time 100 most influential artists

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Time magazine unveiled its annual list of 100 most influential artists, entrepreneurs, sportspeople, activists and authors on Wednesday.

Pop icon Britney Spears, actors Scarlett Johansson and Kate Winslet, filmmaker Chloe Zhao, and singers Dolly Parton and Billie Eilish, all rank among this year’s Time 100.

News of Spears’ inclusion comes days after her father, Jamie Spears filed a petition to end the conservatorship arrangement that has controlled the singer’s estate and finances for 13 years.

The Grammy winner’s bitter battle for independence has underscored the urgent need to overhaul the United States’ conservatorship system in its present form.

Writing about Spears and her place on the list, friend Paris Hilton said: “In 2021, the battle cries of #FreeBritney roared louder than ever...Our hearts broke when Britney spoke about her pain.”

While Spears was celebrated for her resilience, Johansson was lauded for her fight.

In her essay, actor Jamie Curtis Lee talked about Johansson’s ongoing lawsuit with Disney over the studio’s decision to hybrid release her standalone film Black Widow —a move that Johansson claims cost her $50m in bonuses.

Curtis Lee wrote: “Whether as an assassin with a conscience, an actor with an emotional centre or, having just given birth to her second child, a fierce mother, the message is clear: Don’t f*** with this mama bear.”

Director Kenneth Branagh’s essay on Mare of Easttown headliner Kate Winslet, meanwhile, pays tribute to the actor’s remarkable commitment to her craft.

“Kate Winslet disappears, and Mare emerges complete, without vanity or artifice. It’s magnificent to watch.”

The first Asian woman to win a ‘Best Director’ Oscar for her film Nomadland, Chloé Zhao was felicitated for her incisive “study of human beings searching for their place in the world”.

Fellow Oscar winner Ang Lee called Zhao a “true gem of an artist” and her vision, precious.

Singers Miley Cyrus and Megan Thee Stallion honoured Dolly Parton and Billie Eilish, respectively.

Cyrus called her godmother “a living fantasy” and “better than your sparkliest dreams” for her contribution to country music, support to the queer community and, most recently, commitment to Covid-19 research.

Megan Thee Stallion recounted meeting 2021 Time 100 honouree Eilish at the Grammys this year and feeling like she’d found a “kindred spirit who was “strong, but still learning and still growing”.

“A woman who stands up for herself and advocates for women everywhere.”

Others on the list included Ted Lasso creator Jason Sudeikis, rapper Lil Nas X, producers Timbaland and Swizz Beats, screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, and actors Daniel Kaluuya, Youn Yuh Jung and Steven Yeun.

On Sudeikis’ place on the list, late night talk show host Seth Myers wrote that Ted Lasso was, like everything else the actor does, “perfectly timed”. The show’s greatest accomplishment, Myers continued, is neither its writing nor its cast; instead, it is Ted Lasso’s unwavering ability to inspire joy during a “deeply lonely time”.

Oscar-nominated producer Ryan Coogler praisedJudas and the Black Messiah actor Daniel Kaluuya’s powerful and empathetic performance as Fred Hampton in the 2021 Shaka King film.

Steven Yeun’s essay about Minari co-star Youn Yuh-Jung was a hat tip to the South Korean actor’s “singularly unique presence” in everything she does.

In turn, Yeun’s “tremendous capacity” for compassion, empathy, love, vulnerability, and care” shone through his performance in Minari, actor Tessa Thompson writes.

“He’s a deeply fantastic human and a true leading man.”

Lil Nas X found his place on the list because, according to Kid Cudi, “what he’s doing is what we need right now”.

“To have a gay man in hip-hop doing his thing, crushing records—that is huge for us and for Black excellence,” said Kid Cudi.

Colombian 2020 Time honouree J Balvin wrote a tribute to Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny for “taking Latin culture to another level”, while Alicia Keys commemorated Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo’s “ability to blend cultures, creating a soulful sound that is out of this world”.

The full Time 100 list can be found here.

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