The Power Players
From Barack Obama to Beyoncé and Putin, these big personalities shaped The Daily Beast’s first 10 years.
Whether or not you buy into the ‘Great Man’ (or Great Woman!) of History’ theory, certain individuals do seem to have an outsized influence on the times we live in. They are the Power Players, inspiring—or commandeering—sweeping cultural and political change. Over the 10 years of The Daily Beast’s life, we’ve chronicled our collective fascination (and, sometimes, revulsion) with the eight entities listed here as they have indelibly transformed our world. Our two American presidents, almost polar opposites in vision and civility. A new pope, one whose humility and embrace of the developing world has his enemies in the Vatican seething. A youthful generation of royals who have re-energized the moribund British monarchy. An ex-KGB agent who, in the embers of the Soviet Union’s immolated empire, has built a new, increasingly powerful Russia—one whose tentacles extended even into the American elections. The Harvard nerd whose behemoth of a social media company failed to see Russia coming. The Queen Bey, who rules supreme with her socially just vision—and who is writing the rules of her own legend. And, of course, the real First Family of America, a reality TV clan whose shameless and compulsively watchable antics have transformed what it means to be a ‘brand’ in entrepreneurial, empty 21st-century capitalism.
Below, the Beast’s writers take on the legends and legacies of Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Mark Zuckerberg, Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, Donald J. Trump, the New Royals (Will, Kate, Megan and Harry), and, yes, the Kardashians. What will their fates be in the next 10 years of The Daily Beast’s existence? Whatever happens, it’s sure to be riveting.