Time Magazine’s list of winners in their annual “Person of the Year” issue includes body-positive R&B singer and LGBTQ ally Lizzo and the US Women’s Soccer Team, co-captained by out athlete Megan Rapinoe.
Selected by Time editors, the title is bestowed upon “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse,” according to former Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson in the 1998 edition of the yearly issue.
This year’s Person of the Year was awarded to 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who stood in front of world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City and accused them of ignoring the science behind the climate crisis, saying to them, “How dare you?… ‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.’ “
In addition to the overall title, the magazine also honored a Person of the Year in Entertainment, Athletics, Business, and a category called “Guardian of the Year.”
Entertainer of the Year went to Lizzo, whose decade-long career exploded in 2019 with a hit album, “Cuz I Love You,” which dominated the Grammy nominations, and a massive surge in social media popularity that has allowed her message of body positivity and empowerment for women and people of color to go viral within pop culture.
Speaking to Time, she said, “I’ve been doing positive music for a long-ass time. Then the culture changed. There were a lot of things that weren’t popular but existed, like body positivity, which at first was a form of protest for fat bodies and black women and has now become a trendy, commercialized thing. Now I’ve seen it reach the mainstream. Suddenly I’m mainstream!”
Athlete of the Year went to the US Women’s Soccer Team, whose victory in the Finals of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup competition brought worldwide attention to co-captain and LGBTQ activist Rapinoe. Rapinoe drew ire from conservatives before their victory when she publicly sparred with President Donald Trump on Twitter over her announcement that she would skip the White House reception if the team were to win.
In her interview with Time, Rapinoe said, “There’s so much joy in realizing that the President of the United States can come at us, and we’re like, pfffffff, we don’t even need to respond back. There’s joy in realizing your power.”
Time’s Businessperson of the Year was Disney CEO Bob Iger. The magazine named “The Public Servants” as Guardian of the Year.
The publication has maintained its tradition of Person of the Year since 1927, when it named aviator Charles Lindbergh as “Man of the Year.” The designation was changed to “Person” in 1999.