Bad Bunny has been named one of the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME.
On Wednesday (Sept. 15,) the magazine revealed its annual TIME100, featuring “extraordinary leaders from around the world working to build a better future, from entertainers striving to make Hollywood more inclusive to activists fighting for sustainability and human rights. … They are disrupters, fixers, doers, iconoclasts, problem solvers — people who in a year of crisis have leaped into the fray,” said Edward Felsenthal, TIME CEO and editor in chief, in a press statement.
J Balvin was selected as the guest contributor to write about Bad Bunny. The two global reggaeton stars were introduced to each other in 2016 by DJ Luian at one of Balvin’s concerts in Puerto Rico. The rest, as they say, is history.
“When I saw him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s another weirdo like me. I’m not the only one now.’ We immediately went to the studio and cut a song, ‘Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola.’ It blew up,” Balvin wrote in his essay. “He’s a phenomenon when it comes to music, but it didn’t happen overnight; he was working at the supermarket back then, and had to struggle too. We’ve since worked together on an album, Oasis, and the Super Bowl halftime show.”
The Colombian artist describes Bad Bunny’s career evolving from a “little monster” to “Godzilla,” who has reached superstar status and has connected with fans through his “amazing lyrics,” creation of his brand, advocacy for self-expression, and freedom.
“He’s an artist, period. A true artist,” he wrote. “Now he’s at his peak, taking Latin culture to another level. The records he’s broken are amazing. He’s different. Special. People wait for someone to die to say, ‘Oh, he was a legend.’ But I’m telling Benito now: You are one of the greatest artists in Latin music history.”
Bad Bunny joins other 2021 TIME100 honorees including Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex; gymnast Simone Biles; actor Kate Winslet; singer-songwriter Billie Eillish; director-general of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, CEO of NVIDIA Jensen Huang; and writer Cathy Park Hong, to name a few.