Australian actor, writer and activist Meyne Wyatt has been included in Time100 Next’s list of emerging leaders, following his searing speech about systemic racism last year.
The list, which also features the likes of singer Dua Lipa, 16-year-old TikTok star Charli D’Amelio and fashion designer Telfar Clemens, spotlights notable individuals who are shaping the future.
“I didn’t expect it … it was a funny thing to have my name chucked in the hat with these big celebrities and leaders in the world,” Wyatt, 31, told The New Daily.
Following the killing of George Floyd in May, demonstrations and protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement gained global traction.
It was, in Wyatt’s words, an “awakening that was heard all around the world”.
Back in Australia, Wyatt appeared on Q+A and delivered a powerful monologue from his play City of Gold, which confronted viewers about the daily impact of micro-aggressions and outright racism suffered by Indigenous Australians.
Wyatt was convinced the feedback would be negative.
“I went in before I performed on the show thinking, ‘What I’m about to say may upset a lot of people’,” he said.
“I was saying a truth that a lot of people hadn’t heard. I had prepared for a negative response – I told my family, ‘Don’t read the comments section’.”
But the response was “resoundingly positive”, and the punchy and passionate speech quickly went viral.
“Seeing us as animals and not as people – that s— needs to stop,” he said in the monologue.
“Black deaths in custody – that s— needs to stop.”
Australia has recorded more than 441 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991, though no one has ever been convicted.
Since its inaugural year in 2020, the Time100 Next list counts some of the biggest names from in the world.
There are leaders, phenoms, artists, advocates and innovators – many of whom are interviewed by fellowTime100 alumni.
The 80-year-old Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, and President Biden’s chief medical adviser appears in an interview with one of this year’s “rising stars”, immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett, 35.
Dr Corbett’s work, Dr Fauci said, “will have a substantial impact on ending the worst respiratory disease pandemic in more than 100 years”.
Sharing the list with Dr Corbett and Wyatt is actor Hunter Schafer, interviewed by her Euphoria co-star Zendaya, and climate change activist Vanessa Nakate, interviewed by Greta Thunberg.