RAYE and Ncuti Gatwa named among TIME's 2024 list of Next Generation Leaders

RAYE and Ncuti Gatwa named among TIME's 2024 list of Next Generation Leaders

RAYE and Ncuti Gatwa named among TIME's 2024 list of Next Generation Leaders

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue and Photo by VALERIE MACON /AFP via Getty Images

TIME released the 2024 list of Next Generation Leaders, highlighting 11 trendsetters and trailblazers who are guiding the way to a brighter future.

The list features a profile of award-winning recording artist and songwriter RAYE, who tells TIME about her whirlwind year including the independent release of her debut album My 21st Century Blues, parting ways with her label and receiving top honors at this year’s BRIT awards.

TIME’s Moises Mendez on RAYE: “As a teenager, RAYE attended the BRIT School, a legendary South London performing-arts academy that has bred successful songwriters and recording artists like Jessie J, Adele, and Amy Winehouse…At the 2024 BRIT Awards, she earned her place in those hallowed halls…made history at this year’s ceremony in March as the most nominated artist at the U.K.’s biggest music-awards show. She then went on to break the record for most wins in a single night by collecting six awards, including the evening’s biggest prize, Album of the Year.”

Raye performs onstage at the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 13, 2024 in Indio, California. Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

On her performance at this year’s BRIT awards, RAYE tells TIME: “That night felt like it was a lucid dream, it was just so surreal,” she says, looking back. “I think the only part where I felt truly at peace was during the performance. I was so proud of it.”

On proving herself and what keeps her motivated to continue making music: “That very much becomes a part of your psyche. What fuels me to work as hard as I do is to prove those people wrong. Getting into a room with men, who are experienced and talented, asking ‘Who are you?’” Her answer is simple: “Give me the mic and I’ll show you.”

Meanwhile, Ncuti Gatwa is featured as a cover profile on the list where the actor told TIME about his meteoric rise from growing up in Rwanda to starring in groundbreaking roles in Barbie and Sex Education, and now taking on the beloved role of The Doctor on the U.K. hit series Doctor Who.

TIME’s Naina Bajekal on Ncuti Gatwa: “The Rwandan-born, Scottish actor froze as his agent shared the news: he had just been cast as the lead in the beloved British sci-fi series Doctor Who. This wasn’t just another job—it was something that would cement his place in British cultural history…Though taking on such an iconic part was a no-brainer for Gatwa, now 31, it was overwhelming…Failure isn’t exactly a word you’d associate with Gatwa. We first met nearly five years ago on the set of Netflix’s Sex Education, where his nuanced performance as Eric Effiong, a colorful, quick-witted teen navigating his sexuality and religion, won him critical acclaim……Now Gatwa is the first openly queer, Black person to lead the world’s longest-running sci-fi series…As much as Gatwa wants to give voice to broader issues, he also hopes his turn as the Doctor will be remembered for more than just breaking barriers.

Ncuti Gatwa on the cover of TIME and is on the publication's 2024 list of Next Generation LeadersPhotograph by Ruth Ossai for TIME

On the moment his agent told him he had landed the role of beloved British character Dr. Who, Ncuti Gatwa tells TIME: “I hung up and didn’t think about it for a week…I was like: I’ve got laundry to do, I’ve got the gym to go to, I can’t think about this life-changing thing you’ve just thrown at me.”

On his busy schedule between filming the final episodes of Sex Education, his first season of Dr. Who and Barbie: “I don’t think I even had three days off, and I was exhausted. It was like, gym, work, food, bed; wake up at 4, push-ups, lines for the day.”

On how even after achieving success the actor doesn’t allow himself to get too comfortable financially: “Because I’ve been homeless, I don’t think I’ll ever not wake up and check my bank balance or whether there’s food in my fridge,

On the lack of Black lead representation in television and movies: “It’s crazy to me that we’re still seen as a risk…I am a Black man and I’ve just been cast as the lead in the most British of shows. But it’s groundbreaking because it’s the first time, because it’s happening now, because you don’t see it anywhere else.”

On what fans can expect from his characterization of The Doctor: “He’s emotionally available and unavailable….He’s not afraid to cry, he feels a lot. He’s cheeky, he’s quite flirty, and unafraid to use his charm to get what he wants.”

Of the 2024 Next Generation Leaders list, TIME Editor-in-Chief Sam Jacobs writes: “For the last decade, with the support of our partners at Rolex, TIME has made a study of emerging leadership in all its many forms—not just statesmanship and intellectual achievement, but also cultural prominence and athletic triumph.

"The latest class of Next Generation Leaders, spanning eight countries and six continents, is no exception to that tradition of variety. And yet amid such rich diversity, this cohort finds commonality in the way their leadership is expressed…They are focused on building effective solutions to real problems, whether the impact of an aging population on ­Japan’s economy or the lack of minority representation in competitive swimming. And they find joy at a time when that act can be its own kind of heroism…

"In today’s world, the importance of leading with heart is clearer than ever. TIME is pleased to continue to introduce readers to young ­people who are putting that truth into action.”

The 2024 TIME Next Generation Leaders List includes:

This latest issue of TIME goes on sale today (Friday, May 17).

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