Photo courtesy of Jason Persse.
Photo courtesy of Jason Persse.

The first thing I thought when I saw Kanye West on the cover of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People was “why isn’t Malala on it?”

Malala Youzafsai, is a 17-year-old Pakistani activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban and is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.

I appreciate West’s genius in producing (I’m listening to “Black Skinhead” as I type), but the “I am God” persona and the stoic expression is getting extremely old.

Smile. Laugh. Stop interrupting people’s speeches.

I didn’t want to mention his marriage to Kim Kardashian, because it makes me cringe. But his status as a high profile, untouchable being was further enhanced through their union. I mean, Yeezus came out in 2013 and, yes, he took part in the song “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna and legendary Paul McCartney, but what has he done that would make TIME put him at the top of such an important list?

“Design” a fashion line that consists of clothing you can only wear to a dystopian-themed party?

If you read TIME’s list, ask yourself why these celebrities, such as Bradley Cooper, Reese Witherspoon and the infamous Mrs. West, are featured.

This isn’t the list of “100 Most Influential People.”

It’s mainly just another list of celebrities with meaningless quotations under their professionally photographed portraits.

Being a part of said list should mean you have done something extraordinary, titanesque, to change our world.

We need heroes, those who will roar in the face of despair. We need individuals who annihilate boundaries and rescue the oppressed. Being a part of the list means you have had a significant impact on the world, good or bad, as presented by the nomination of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un.

Other figures featured on the list were Pope Francis, world-renowned Japanese author Haruki Marukami and Chai Jing, a Chinese journalist who documented her country’s pollution and its effect on the environment in “Under the Dome.”

But the full list featuring these individuals seems like it’s nowhere to be found.

I had to traverse through at least five articles to find other nominees who weren’t movie stars or social media royalty.

The coverage, and the fact that TIME chose West to be its poster child, embodies how superficial society has become.

The four international covers of TIME featured Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, Kanye and Bradley Cooper. Although two celebrities, out of the four on the international covers TIME produced, were not traditional celebrities, I would have liked more promotion of the men and women who aren’t constantly in the limelight, who aren’t constantly walking down red carpets and have their faces plastered on ads.

The underdogs, the writer who took the plunge into a controversial topic, the teenager who decided to inspire a nation, the performer who leaped over the hurdles placed deliberately on his or her path.

I should see them everywhere.

I want to know who they are.

Those are the individuals who make a difference.

headshotKarla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at

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