Joan Baez Among This Year’s Recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors

Joan Baez is set to receive a special honor in Our Nation’s Capital.

The 80-year-old half-Mexican American contemporary folk singer has been selected to receive the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors alongside Garth Brooks, violinist Midori, choreographer Debbie Allen and the ageless Dick Van Dyke.

Joan Baez

“It has been my life’s joy to make art,” said Baez in a statement. It’s also been my life’s joy to make, as the late Congressman John Lewis called it, ‘good trouble.’ What luck to have been born with the ability to do both; each one giving strength and credibility to the other.”

Traditionally held in December, the 2020 edition of the Kennedy Center Honors was postponed to May 2021 due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live events and filming are planned for the week of May 17-22. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special that will air on June 6 at 9:00 pm ET/PT.

But the pandemic will have an impact on how the event is staged, with live-filmed tributes and virtual moments to take the place of the traditional event in a packed Kennedy Center Opera House.

“The center’s entire campus will come alive with small, in-person events and re-envisioned virtual tributes. Featuring multiple events for physically-distant audiences in locations across the Kennedy Center’s campus…Programs for each event will encompass both performances and speaking tributes for the honorees,” according to a statement. “Virtual events will also be held throughout the week beginning May 17, and the viability of additional in-person events will be considered as COVID-19 safety protocols evolve over the upcoming months…An honoree medallion ceremony for the honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during [the week of] May 17–22.”

Joan Baez

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to attend the Honors Gala, as presidents traditionally have done (barring a national crisis). Donald Trump was the first president to decline the invitation every year of his term.

This is the first time in five years that a majority of the honorees have been women. Carole King, Rita Moreno and Cicely Tyson were three of the five honorees in 2015.

“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” said David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman.

Here’s a look at each of this year’s honorees:

Joan Baez: The folk legend had three top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1960s, including Farewell, Angelina. Her classic version of Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Baez was just 21 when she made the cover of Time in November 1962. Baez has one of the longest spans of Grammy nominations in history, from 1962 to 2018. She has yet to win a Grammy in competition (despite nine nods), but she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2007.

Garth Brooks: The country star, 58, is one of the best-selling recording artists in history. The RIAA lists him second only to The Beatles, with 157 million albums sold in the U.S. (compared to 183 million for the Fab Four). He has had nine No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including Ropin’ the Wind, which topped the chart for 18 weeks, still the record for a country album. Brooks has amassed 14 CMA Awards, including a record seven awards for entertainer of the year. He was artist of the decade for the 1990s at the ACM Awards. He has won two Grammys. He received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last year. He made the cover of Time in 1992 in a story headlined “Country’s Big Boom.”

Midori: The Japanese-born American violinist, 49, was just 19 when she received her first (and to date only) Grammy nomination for best classical performance, instrumental soloist (without orchestra) for the album Paganini: 24 Caprices For Solo Violin Op. 1. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 as a surprise guest soloist at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 1982. 

Dick Van Dyke: The actor, 95, won three Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), which is widely regarded as the granddaddy of smart, sophisticated sitcoms. He also won an Emmy in 1977 for Van Dyke & Company, which took outstanding variety or music series. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. He won a Tony in 1961 for Bye, Bye Birdie (in which he introduced the jaunty “Put on a Happy Face”) and a Grammy for 1964’s Mary Poppins (in which he took the lead in singing the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee”).

Debbie Allen: The actress, dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, director and producer, 70, has won three Emmys for choreography: two for Fame and one for Motown 30: What’s Goin’ On. She also received two Tony nods for acting in revivals of West Side Story (1980) and Sweet Charity (1986). She is a former member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Romeo Santos: Billboard’s Top Latin Music Artist of the 2010s

Romeo Santos is celebrating his ten-ure on the Latin charts…

Billboard is revealing the top acts of the 2010s by genre, with the 39-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American bachata singer-songwriter topping the list of artists in the Latin category.

Romeo Santos

Since first hitting Billboard‘s surveys as a soloist in 2011, after breaking though in hit bachata quartet Aventura, Santos has collected seven solo No. 1s on the weekly Hot Latin Songs chart and five No. 1s on Top Latin Albums.

“If you put out quality music,” he told Billboard in 2017, “you’re always going to be in a good place.”

Santos beat out Prince Royce for the top spot.

The 31-year-old Dominican American singer-songwriter has not stopped making his mark in the Latin music industry since he released his eponymous debut studio album, which generated two commercially successful singles, “Stand by Me” and “Corazón Sin Cara,” in March 2010.

Most recently, Prince Royce  “Carita de Inocente“, spent a record-breaking 29 weeks at number-one on the Billboard Latin Tropical Airplay chart.

J Balvin comes in at No. 3 on the chart…

The 35-year-old Colombian reggaeton singer, known as the “Príncipe del Reggaetón,”

was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and one of the greatest Latin artists of all time by Billboard.

Daddy Yankee is the No. 5 top Latin act of the 2010s, due in part to his landmark hit “Despacito,” with Luis Fonsi and featuring Justin Bieber. The English/Spanish-language collaboration spent a record 56 weeks atop Hot Latin Songs beginning in February 2017, passing the 41-week reign of “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias (the decade’s No. 4 artist), featuring Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, beginning in May 2014.

Latin
1, ROMEO SANTOS
2, PRINCE ROYCE
3, J BALVIN
4, ENRIQUE IGLESIAS
5, DADDY YANKEE
6, JUAN GABRIEL
7, BANDA SINALOENSE MS DE SERGIO LIZARRAGA
8, OZUNA
9, NICKY JAM
10, GERARDO ORTIZ

Click here to view the full, 50-position Top Latin Artists of the 2010s chart.

Bad Bunny Pens Poignant Statement in Time Magazine in Support of Black Lives Matter

Bad Bunny is speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican singer/rapper, whoa abruptly left social media on May 19, has broken his silence to show his support for the movement to fight for racial justice.

Bad Bunny

In a poignant statement titled “Forgive Me” published in TIME magazine, Bad Bunny asks his fans to forgive him for not speaking out sooner but, “I can’t even believe this is still happening. Maybe it’s because I’ve always seen people’s hearts and, in my house, I was always taught that we are all the same regardless of race, religion and surname; that we are all brothers/sisters. I SWEAR I don’t feel well, and I don’t think I can express myself properly.”

Amid national outrage and protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white police officer, the “lyrical” statement comes after people questioned his silence on the matter given that he has been supportive of the trans community and spoken out against femicide, and he has never been shy around politics. Back in September, he was on the front line when Puerto Ricans demanded the ousting of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

“There are artists who only upload a photo or a basic message just to calm public pressure or to look ‘good,’” Bad Bunny told TIME. “Not me… I want to go deeper and see in what way I can serve, how I can support the fight against a systematic monster that has been [around for] centuries.”

Adding, “In the case of reggaetón music, we have always struggled against discrimination, and even though today it is the world’s number one Latino genre, we continue to suffer from that discrimination, both in the world for being Latino, and in the Latino community itself for being a genre that comes from the street.”

Here’s Bad Bunny’s translated statement and find the original Spanish version here:

FORGIVE ME
Forgive my silence.
But I can’t even believe this is still happening.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always seen people’s hearts and, in my house, I was always taught that we are all the same regardless of race, religion and surname; that we are all brothers/sisters
I SWEAR I don’t feel well, and I don’t think I can express myself properly,
I swear it hurts!
It hurts to know that people are still being killed because of the color of their skin.
LIVING IN A WORLD LIKE THIS, NONE OF US CAN BREATHE!F–K DONALD TRUMP!
PRESIDENT OF RACISM!
YOUR HATE AND TYRANNY,
THAT’S TERRORISM.
DON’T STOP THE FIGHT,
DON’T LOWER YOUR FISTS,
KNOW THAT WE ARE ALL HOME,
THAT THIS IS OUR LAND.
I remember the white boy with the “bad hair,” that’s what they would say,
just like they did to my black neighbors, and they believed it too.
Bad? Bad are those who still think that way,
WITHOUT REALIZING THAT THE SAME BLOOD RUNS THROUGH OUR VEINS.
Who taught you to be this way?
Why don’t you seek change?
MAYBE THE PRESS IS TO BLAME FOR NEVER SHOWING THE TRUTH
OR HISTORY CLASSES THAT DON’T TEACH US A REAL ACCOUNT OF EVENTS
AND SHOW BLACK SLAVES WITH SUCH NORMALCY
AND WHO STILL CALL THIS BRUTALITY A “DISCOVERY.”
TO MURDER AND HUMILIATE THOSE OF ANOTHER SKIN COLOR,
THAT 500 YEARS LATER,
THAT PAIN KEEPS DRAGGING ON.
HATE DOESN’T STOP HATE,
IT JUST MAKES IT WORSE.
IN A WORLD LIKE THAT, WHO WANTS TO GIVE THEIR LOVE?
IF IT WAS UP TO ME, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, IF IT WAS UP TO ME, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE EXISTED.
YOU CAN’T KNOW SOMEONE BY SIMPLY LOOKING AT THEIR FACE,
YOU CAN’T KNOW SOMEONE BY ONLY LOOKING AT THEIR OUTER APPEARANCE.
FORGIVE ME THAT MY ANGER TODAY IS SILENT.
FORGIVE ME FOR FEELING IMPOTENT TODAY.
I SWEAR TO YOU I LOVE YOU AND I WILL ALWAYS STAND BY MY PEOPLE,
BUT WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU GUYS ALWAYS FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.
NEVER WAIT FOR ARTISTS, OR FOR FICTITIOUS HEROES, YOU ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE THE POWER!!! TEACH YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS TO RESPECT AND LOVE REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR. EDUCATE THOSE WHO DO NOT SEEM TO KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SUFFERING AND STRUGGLE THAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE ENDURED, ABOUT THE INJUSTICES WE CARRIED FOR CENTURIES. MAYBE WE WON’T CHANGE THE WORLD TODAY, BUT TODAY WE CAN WORK ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR TOMORROW.
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Carlos Maza Named to Time Magazine’s List of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet

Carlos Maza is making his influence felt…

Time has released the fifth annual roundup of the 25 most influential people on the Internet, with the Cuban-American Vox journalist/vlogger and video producer making the list of the personalities who have the biggest global impact on social media.

Carlos Maza

Maza is being recognized for speaking about being harassed online, and his quest to target the policy that empowered the culprits.

For two years, Maza was the focus of videos from popular right-wing commentator Steven Crowder, who repeatedly denigrated Maza’s sexual orientation and ethnicity—actions that appeared to violate YouTube’s terms of service. But when Maza reported Crowder, he says YouTube didn’t respond. So at the end of May, Maza went public with his struggles on Twitter. His thread quickly went viral, prompting a new wave of harassment from Crowder fans—and eventually, a pseudo-apology from Crowder and a response from YouTube, which demonetized Crowder’s channel. 

YouTube stopped short of banning Crowder outright, arguing initially that, while some of Crowder’s comments were hurtful, its policies were intended to protect free expression, which can include offensive opinions

In the days that followed Maza’s Twitter thread, YouTube did reveal plans to revisit its harassment policies. But Maza isn’t optimistic about systemic change. “Harassment is really good for engagement,” he tells Time.

But Maza isn’t the only Latino to make the list…

Cardi B’s rise to stardom can be traced back to Instagram, where she now has more than 47 million followers. 

As much as the 26-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation’s life has changed since the success of “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B’s online presence has stayed consistent—confessional videos and memes between red carpet shots, concert footage and political commentary

In January, Cardi B made headlines for posting a video criticizing President Donald Trump for not funding the government, “all for a f-cking wall.” That clip went viral, and even came to the attention of Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Brian Schatz, who publicly debated whether they should retweet the video. In the end, the lawmakers chose not to, but the video still racked up 20 million views on Instagram. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be a junior member of the U.S. House of Representatives, but when it comes to social media aptitude, her superiority is practically unmatched. 

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican politician and activist, who is simply referred to by her Twitterhandle “AOC,” has nearly 4.8 million followers on the platform, more than most members of theU.S. Congress

In January, shortly after being sworn in as the youngest Congresswoman in U.S. history, Ocasio-Cortez co-hosted a session for her peers about social media best practices, explaining the importance of being “authentic.” And though she’s made some online missteps during her tenure on Capitol Hill— like identifying her Democratic colleague Rep. John Yarmuth as a Republican while slamming older male legislators — Ocasio-Cortez has also expertly harnessed viral tropes to draw attention to subcommittee hearings and granular policy debates that have typically been relegated to the confines of C-Span: an Instagram video of questions she asked at a hearing about cannabis in February has amassed over three million views. 

Germán Garmendia is being recognized for his personality…

Since uploading his first skit to YouTubein 2011, the 29-year-old Chilean YouTuber, comedian and writer has earned more than 13 billion views, making him the world’s most popular Spanish-language YouTuber. 

In his skits and over-the-top riffs, Garmendia mines humor from everyday topics; while describing how tough he is in a video about how to be sexy, for example, he noted that he only cried a little when Mufasa died in The Lion Kingand often pushes doors labeled “pull.” 

Production values have risen on YouTube in the years since he got his start, but despite competition from bigger-budget operations, Garmendia’s main draw as he comments on memes, viral videos, and video games is still his personality. 

As with many YouTubers, he has also provoked controversy, like when misogynistic comments he made in a 2014 gameplay video resurfaced in late 2018. But his subsequent apology was well-received, and his career hasn’t stalled: in fact, Garmendia released his first novel last year.

To see the complete list, click here.

Mars to Receive Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016

There’s no denying Bruno Marsstar power… And now he’ll have an iconic plaque to prove it.

The 29-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer-songwriter is among the celebrities whose names will be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016.

Bruno Mars

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced its class of 2016, with a list that includes Adam Levine, Cyndi Lauper, Quentin Tarantino and actors Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Ashley Judd, Michael Keaton and Kurt Russell.

Entertainers are recognized in five categories: motion picture, television, radio, recording and live theater/live performance. Each recipient is responsible for their star’s $30,000 cost of installation and they have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before they expire.

Mars, a two-time Grammy-winner who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, in 2011, is being recognized in the recording category.

But Mars isn’t the only Latino artist to make the 2016 list…

Angelica Maria, heralded as La Novia de México, will also receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The 70-year-old Mexican American actress and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is being recognized in the and live theater/live performance.

Individual ceremonies have not yet been scheduled.

The full list of 2016 recipients can be seen at www.walkoffame.com.

Martin Featured in Time Magazine’s “Letters From Dad” Series

Let(ter) Ricky Martin entertain you with his words of wisdom…

With Father’s Day this upcoming Sunday (June 21), Time magazine has revealed its annual Letters From Dad series, with the 43-year-old Puerto Rican singer-songwriter participating in the project.

Ricky Martin

The magazine typically asks several influential dads to write open letters to their children — and this year, Martin was among them.

In his heartfelt letter, former member of the all-boy band Menudo starts off by telling his twins Matteo and Valentino, now six, that being a father was something he always dreamed of. He also credits them with positively changing his life.

“Above all, my beautiful sons, your love gave me the strength to live an honest life,” writes Martin, who came out as a gay man in 2010, after years of scrutiny about his sexuality. “A life of courage and transparency, which fills me with great pride and peace. What an amazing gift you have given me, and I’m forever thankful to you.

Before signing off, Martin adds, “If there is anything I want you to live with, aside from knowing that you are unconditionally loved and adored by me and our family and friends, it is that you can be YOURSELF. Don’t ever let anyone or anything make you feel like you can’t be your true self.”

But Martin isn’t the only Latino dad participating this year.

In an equally sweet letter, Colombian superstar Juanes goes through the emotions he felt when each of his children came into this world and what they have taught him.

“I would feel a mixture of joy and nerves come over me that I could not describe with words alone,” writes Juanes to Luna, Paloma and Dante, his three children with TV personality Karen Martinez. “And then, in the blink of an eye, as when a candle is lit in the darkness, you would appear, illuminating the whole place.”

Later in the piece, he writes, “At first, I imagined that my mission as a father would be to teach you everything I knew about life: the physical, the intellectual, the spiritual. But as the days passed, I realized that I would be learning from you. Yes, you read that right—I would also be your student. The purity of your souls, your innocence, reminded me that I, too, one day came to this world like you, innocent and with a pure soul. I felt myself reconnecting with my father and mother, completing this mysterious and magical circle of existence.

Juanes’ letter is also available in Spanish. As the Colombian rock star’s short bio points out, he is about to head on his Loco de Amor tour, for which he is currently rehearsing.

Martin is getting ready for Univision’s La Banda, a new reality singing competition series airing in September in search of the next big Latin boy band. Martin will serve as a judge, along with Alejandro Sanz and Laura Pausini, and he is also credited as a producer.

Other musical figures invited by Time to pen letters for their kids this year include Pete Wentz and Russell Simmons.

Click here to read the letters in full.

Pope Francis Named Time Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year

Despite a strong challenge from Miley Cyrus and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Pope Francis has been named Time magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year.

The 76-year-old Argentinean newly elected pontiff who’s made headlines for his humility, nicknamed “The People’s Pope,” was the individual Time editors decided had the most impact on the world and the news — for better or worse — over the past year.

Pope Francis' Time Cover

In explaining the magazine’s choice on Wednesday’s Today, Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said the pope is “someone who has changed the tone and perception and focus of one of the world’s largest institutions in an extraordinary way.

“So much of what he has done in his brief nine months in office has really changed the tone that is coming out of the Vatican,” Gibbs added. “He is saying, ‘We are about the healing mission of the church, and not about the theological police work that had maybe been preoccupying us.’ ”

Francis is the third pope to be awarded Time‘s Person of the Year honor. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement read on Today that “the Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the gospel — a message of God’s love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that.”

NSA leaker Edward Snowden ranked second on Time‘s list, but some are saying that he should have received the top spot. Other runners-up included gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory led to the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Cyrus and Bezos both made Time‘s shortlist, revealed on Monday’s Today, as did 2012 winner President Barack Obama, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Rubio Among the Nine Latinos on Time’s 100 Influentials List

He may be the junior United States Senator from Florida with only about 15 months in office… But, Marco Rubio is already being hailed as one of the most influential people in the world.

The 40-year-old Cuban American politician appears on Time magazine’s just released list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Senator Marco Rubio

“I knew there was something special about Marco Rubio when I first met him as a young Republican city commissioner. Bilingual and bicultural, he represents the best of the emerging second generation of Cuban immigrants,” writes former Florida governor Jeb Bush about the U.S. Senator who is being called a potential vice presidential pick for the Republican Party. “His ascendancy in politics has not surprised me or the people who know him. Rubio’s abiding faith in the promise of America is so compelling.”

But Senator Rubio isn’t the only Latino making Time’s ninth annual list. In all, nine Latinos made the cut, including three females.

Here’s a look at the rest of the world’s most influential Latinos, according to Time.

Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.
The 44-year-old Emmy and Grammy-winning Mexican-American comedian/actor is the star of FX’s comedy series Louie, which he also writes, directs and edits. Comedienne Joan Rivers writes of Louis C.K.:  “When he sent me the Louie episode he wanted me to do, I called him and said, ‘I like it, but I’d like to work with you on this.’ He was wonderful. There is absolutely no ego there — we reworked the script together and we improvised. It was such a meeting of the minds, such a joy.”

José Andrés
Last year, the 42-year-old Spanish chef and activist won the coveted James Beard Foundation‘s Outstanding Chef Award, the highest honor a chef in America can achieve. But José Andrés wasn’t honored for his gastronomic work; he was recognized for his philanthropic efforts. Fellow chef Anthony Bourdain writes about José Andrés: “That this gift of Spain to the U.S. is best known as a great chef with a portfolio of extraordinary restaurants in Washington, Los Angeles and Las Vegas is almost beside the point. He’s bigger and more important than that. No one kitchen — or 10 — can contain him. He is advocate, promoter, entrepreneur, philanthropist, artist. Keep up with him at your peril.”

Dulce Matuz

Dulce Matuz
The 27-year-old Mexican illegal immigrant and advocate is the president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, the group working to provide a path to citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria writes about Dulce Matuz, who attended high school and college in Arizona: “An undocumented Latina confronted with legal barriers to pursuing her engineering dream, she chose to fight for the right to contribute to the country she has called home since she was young. As president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, Dulce promotes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who, like her, were brought to the U.S. before they were 16, attend college or serve in the military and are of good moral character. Dulce takes on powerful opponents with grace and conviction, saying, ‘We are Americans, and Americans don’t give up.’”

Eike Batista

Eike Batista
The 55-year-old Brazilian business tycoon, one of the richest people in the world, is the owner and president of Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group. Eike Batista made the list for his commitment to social inclusion initiatives in Rio de Janeiro. The city’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, credited Batista for bolstering Rio’s successful bid to host the 2016 Olympics and for donating to civic initiatives. “He might be Brazil’s richest man and the world’s seventh richest, bringing vital investment to our city from oil and mining, but his most valuable asset is his commitment to Rio’s legacy,” writes Paes.

Juan Manuel Santos

Juan Manuel Santos
The 60-year-old Colombian President may be recognized for helping his country in its bid to be a more developed world player, but Colombian pop singer Shakira believes he’s also a strong leader at home, especially after working directly with President Juan Manuel Santos on education and childhood development programs throughout the country. She writes, “A leader is someone who understands the people’s vision of a better tomorrow and is willing to guide them there. In Colombia, we dream of a future of progress, prosperity and peace. By focusing on education, I believe President Santos is on the right track to make that dream a reality.”

Maria das Graças Silva Foster

Maria das Graças Silva Foster
The Brazilian oil engineer was recently named the CEO of Petrobras, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of oil. She becomes its first female CEO and the first woman to run a major oil company. And, she’s known for being a tough, no-nonsense operator. “Foster, 58, spent her early childhood in a working-class favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and collected recyclable cans and paper to help pay for school. A chemical engineer by training, she joined Petrobras and stayed for more than 30 years. Her tireless work habits earned her the nickname Caveirao, slang for the armored cars Brazilian police use to clear out slums,” writes Bryan Walsh, a senior editor at Time.

Dilma Rousseff
President
The 64-year-old Brazilian politician, considered one of the world’s most powerful women, is the first woman to hold the office of President in her native country. Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández De Kirchner writes of Rousseff, “She and I share many personal experiences: the drive that comes from our immigrant heritage, youthful activism and militancy and the challenges faced by women as they try to grow in a space dominated by men. And we agree that social inequality is the greatest problem facing our countries. Historically, what was “national” in Latin America used to run counter to the interests of the other nations in our region. Today, with the leadership of Dilma Rousseff, we see a Brazil convinced that its national interest is absolutely linked to the interests of its neighbors.”

Lionel-Messi-Barcelona-Football-Player

Lionel Messi
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old Argentinean soccer star, who plays for Futbol Club Barcelona, claimed his third consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or, making him the first footballer to win the honor three years in a row. U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm writes of Lionel Messi: “He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball. It never seems to leave his feet. His love of the game and the pride he feels while playing for Barcelona and Argentina are palpable. Then you meet him, and you are reminded that he is only 5 ft. 7 in. (170 cm),” says Hamm. “He certainly has the potential to be remembered as the best player of all time, and I am so grateful for his approach to the game in this day and age. Clearly he plays because he loves it, and it shows every time he takes the field.

Click here for Time‘s complete list of influentials.