The 2017 TIME 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, has been released. This year’s list, which is divided up into categories—Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans and Icons—features two Hamptonites, author Colson Whitehead and photographer Cindy Sherman. Whitehead is known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, while Sherman is known for her portraits and photos. Recently, she tackled aging in a series inspired by old Hollywood divas such as Gloria Swanson.
In selecting its 100 honorees, TIME reaches out to alumni for suggestions and short essays. Oprah Winfrey writes about Whitehead, while Miranda July writes about Sherman.
Sherman Here’s a piece of July’s writeup of Sherman:
“The victim, the psycho bitch, the good wife. Lady readers will know what I mean when I say we are supposed to embody these roles, but unknowingly, so as not to ruin the mood. It’s this mood that Cindy Sherman’s role-playing self-portraits have disrupted and repurposed over the past 40 years. Her photographs always beguile at first—She’s so pretty! So sad! So crazy!—but in the next moment we remember, “She” took this picture. She knows.”
And here are some of Winfrey’s thoughts on Whitehead:
“From the first page of Colson Whitehead’s extraordinary novel The Underground Railroad I knew I was reading something ground-shifting. I’ve been a student of African-American history since about age 14, and I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about slavery and the Freedom Train. But that’s what’s so powerful about great literature: it deepens your perspective, opens your consciousness and allows you to be in the shoes of its characters, journeying alongside them.”
The 100 were honored at the Time 100 Gala on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Click here for the full list, and congratulations to Sherman and Whitehead!