Every year when Time releases its 100 Most Influential People list, the essays penned by close friends of the honorees are a trip to read. This year, we’re totally enamored with Adele’s super-sweet two-paragraph essay about her friend and fellow musician Rihanna, named as an Icon on the incredible 2018 list.
“I actually can’t remember the first time I met Rihanna; I was probably numb from the shock of it,” Adele wrote. “She is one year older than me, but I feel like she’s been around forever. The progression of her superstardom feels steady, well deserved and extremely natural. She burst onto the scene with the absolute banger that is ‘Pon de Replay’ in 2005, so young and breathtakingly beautiful.”
Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados in 1988, was just 17 years old when her first single hit the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 2005, and for the last 13 years, she’s been a household name. Adele notes that, although “Pon de Replay” and subsequent singles from Rihanna’s debut album, Music of the Sun, were huge hits, “the first time it felt like she made everyone sit up was with ‘Umbrella.’ It crossed her over to every platform and into everyone’s lives. It felt like she had truly arrived, and she hasn’t slowed down since.”
But, of course, Rihanna has expanded her career well beyond music: she costars in the upcoming Ocean’s 8, launched Fenty Beauty by Rihanna in 2017, and launched her Savage x Fenty lingerie line in May. In her essay, Adele acknowledged these accomplishments too: “Even more, she has designed and conquered an entire lane of her own. The innovative and groundbreaking world of Rihanna that no one else will ever be safe in and get away with copying. She makes her own rules and bends ours.”
Then, Adele wrote a sweet, personal closing paragraph that honestly left us beaming: “Whenever I’ve met [Rihanna], she’s been the most gracious, loyal and funny goofball of an icon. She glows like when someone’s taken a picture with a flash and you’re dazed for a few minutes after. But it’s also very clear in that glow that she genuinely doesn’t give a f-ck; she’s fearless and full of all the right kind of attitude to be everything that she is and will be forever.” We cannot agree more — we love Ri and everything she does, and we can’t imagine that changing anytime soon.
This marks Rihanna’s second appearance on the Time 100 list; she was previously named on the 2012 list alongside Adele. Fashion designer Stella McCartney wrote that Rihanna was “one of the coolest, hottest, most talented, most liked, most listened to, most followed, most impressive artists at work today, but she does it in her own stride.”
Others named as Icons on this year’s Time 100 include #MeToo activist Tarana Burke, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Mock and Kesha, among others.