Look at the cover of Time magazine's "The 100 Most Influential People of 2020," and you'll see Megan Thee Stallion standing in dirt in front of some weeds. But those aren't just any weeds: The Houston rap sensation was photographed in front of Colorado's most iconic venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
The photo and the story's accompanying video were shot when the rapper was in town early in September for a virtual performance sponsored by mobile-phone company Visible.
During this year of COVID-19, when most Red Rocks shows and music tours were canceled, the venue and the musician somehow made the cover of one of the world's most prestigious magazine issues.
While it might be a shocker that Anthony Fauci or some other boring-looking figure fighting COVID-19 didn't make the 2020 cover, Megan Thee Stallion deserves it. Despite the pandemic, she has made waves and brought joy to the world, racking up multiple number-one hits, including one of the most scandalous songs to top the Billboard charts: "W.A.P.," her collaboration with Cardi B.
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As Taraji P. Henson writes of the artist in Time:
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I don’t like to put the stigma of the word strong on Black women because I think it dehumanizes us, but she has strength—strength through vulnerability. She’s lost much of her family—her mother, her father, her grandmother—yet she is the epitome of tenacity, of pulling herself up by her bootstraps. She was shot this summer, and still people tried to tear her down. But she’s out here still loving and being sweet. It’s invigorating to see her become a platinum-selling artist with the viral hit “Hot Girl Summer” and multiple No. 1 songs in the past year, “Savage” and “WAP.” But you would be a fool to think that’s all there is to her. She’s deep. She’s enrolled in college. She’s an entertainer. She’s a free spirit; I see that in her. The industry might try to pigeonhole her in this rap game, but she’s got a plan that’s much bigger. And we got her. I just want her to keep winning.
The featured photo of Red Rocks was a happy surprise for Denver Arts & Venues, which runs the iconic place and is facing furloughs and other venue closures in the wake of COVID-19-related budget cuts.
And it's a good reminder that even as most concert halls and venues remain dark, Colorado lives up to its national reputation for attracting world-famous artists.