The list also features David Moinina Sengeh from Sierra Leone, Toyin Ajayi from Nigeria, Abeba Birhane from Ethiopia, Duaa Tariq from Sudan, John Chweya and Mercy Mutemi from Kenya, and Senegal-born Mory Sack.
By Helena Olori
Nigerian sensational singer, Tems, along with several other young Africans, has been recognised on the 2023 Time100 Next list. Tems, who is undoubtedly enjoying a spectacular year in her career having won her first Grammy Award, and recently winning the “Best Songwriter of the Year” award at the 2023 BMI R&B Hip-Hop, has been blazing the trail for women in the Nigerian music scene.
The list, akin to the TIME 100 Most Influential People list, globally spotlights 100 emerging leaders “who have achieved peak influence in their fields.” Tems’ inclusion underscores her status and her influence on contemporary music.
In a profile for the iconic magazine, Grammy award-winning singer Mary J. Blige wrote, “Tems is in a class all by herself because no other artiste sounds like her.” She described Tems’ voice as “unique and original,” drawing comparisons to the legendary Nina Simone known for singing with raw emotion and deep conviction.
Brimming with optimism, Blige noted, “I know she will make it far because she’s a talented writer, singer, and producer — my only hope for her is that she becomes one of the biggest artistes of her time.” The Oscar-nominated songwriter also praised Tems for her charisma and grace, calling her a “beautiful human being inside and out.”
Other African emerging leaders honoured this year include Sierra Leonean politician, David Moinina Sengehand; Nigerian health-tech advocate, Toyin Ajayi; Ethiopian-born scientist, Abeba Birhane; leader of Kenya’s Waste Pickers Association, John Chweya; Kenyan lawyer, Mercy Mutemi; Sundanese human rights activist, Duaa Tariq; and Senegal-born celebrity chef, Mory Sacko, who graced one of the three worldwide covers for the 2023 TIME100 Next issue.
The list also spotlights over 50 women, including American rapper, Ice Spice, Spanish football player, Salma Paralluelo, Hailey Bieber, Rachel Zegler, Megan Davis, Pinky Cole, and many others.
Commenting on the list, TIME Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Sibley, remarked, “The honourees on this year’s TIME100 Next are rising stars whose work and determination is creating a better future. We’re looking forward to celebrating these extraordinary individuals at our upcoming TIME100 Next event in October.”
The event, the third edition since its launch in 2019, is scheduled to be held on October 24 to celebrate the individuals spotlighted on the 2023 list at SECOND in New York City.