Toyin Ojih OdutolaSince 1927, TIME magazine has been naming a Man or Person of the Year. To mark International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of American women getting the right to vote, the publication has now compiled a list of the women who defined a century, choosing one woman per year from 1920 through 2019 — and some top female musicians made the cut.
Beyoncé, the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Michelle Obama and Serena Williams are all included on the list, representing the years 2014, 1968, 2008 and 2003, respectively.
As for Beyoncé, she was chosen for 2014 because she surprise-released her “visual album,” Beyoncé, in December of 2013 and it dominated the conversation the following year. As TIME notes, with that album’s song, “Flawless,” Beyoncé “explicitly claimed feminism for herself. …She may be pop, but she is also political.”
TIME says Aretha Franklin owned 1968 because the three albums she released that year were “a salve for a torn nation” grieving after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
As for Serena Williams, 1992 was the year she became the fifth women in tennis history to hold all hold the titles of all four Grand Slam tournaments at the same time: he Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
“She gave her feat an alliterative flourish that neatly spoke truth to her power: the Serena Slam,” writes TIME. The article praised Williams for embracing “her body, and her blackness, with the same force as one of her two-handed backhands: Even her occasional outbursts at umpires spark national debates about decorum and double standards.”
Anita Hill, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, the late Billie Holliday and the late Toni Morrison are also included on the list.
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