Daddy Yankee, Dane Cook and Stephen Colbert are rubbing elbows with President Bush. All four men are part of the diverse mix of politicians, intellectuals and entertainers who make Time's 2006 list of the 100 most influential people.
World leaders including Condoleezza Rice, John McCain and Bill Clinton are side-by-side with socially minded entertainers George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie in the "Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World" issue, which honors the most influential figures in categories such as "Builders & Titans," "Artists & Entertainers" and "Heroes & Pioneers." The entries are supported by essays written by journalists, politicians and fellow celebrities examining the cultural impact each inductee has made. Daddy Yankee makes the cut for bringing reggaetón; to the masses, Dane Cook for ushering in a new era of stand-up comedy and Stephen Colbert for counterbalancing the talking heads of TV news through parody.
Dubbed a "Builder & Titan," Sean "Diddy" Combs made the list for his contributions to bringing urban life to the mainstream as not only a hip-hop mogul and artist, but also a fashion designer. In an essay by Vivienne Tam, the designer writes, "Sean Combs is a force of nature."
Rock star and activist Bono makes his mark as a "Hero & Pioneer," with his influence felt through efforts to draw attention to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa as well as his work with U2. Senator Jesse Helms, who wrote the piece on Bono (and who admittedly had no idea who the Irish musician was before 2000) said watching a U2 audience sway to the music was "a reminder of the millions he manages to touch every day with his music and his heart."
Also making the "Time 100" are rapper and actor Will Smith, who was honored for his ability to stay grounded even when faced with mega stardom and box-office success. Like Smith, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon was noted for wearing many hats while maintaining a down-to-earth public persona.
The list can be found in the May 8 issue of Time, on newsstands Monday (May 1).