The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Alexandra Gavillet—Peloton
By Brandy
September 15, 2021 7:16 AM EDT

Two great artists coming together to celebrate other artists? You can’t beat that.

During the pandemic, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz created Verzuz, a streaming series that has showcased so many talented artists. It’s such a beautiful experience, and with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the live battles on Instagram, it’s clear that it’s also something people really needed—the series got us through a difficult time. I go way back with both Timbaland and Swizz Beatz: as a hip-hop head in the ’90s, Swizz’s work spoke to me. And Timbaland is one of my favorite producers of all time. When they asked me to go on Verzuz for a battle with Monica—an amazing artist—last year, I was very nervous because I didn’t want it to be competitive; I like to share the light. But they assured us that it would be a fantastic experience. It was exactly that. I didn’t want the night to end.

They found a way to give artists their flowers while they’re still here and to bring us all together, and it’s brilliant. When they partnered with Triller, they included all of us who had appeared over the past year in the deal, sharing a part of their stake in the company—it made us feel we were a part of something bigger. That was super humble. Nobody does that. But they did—for our culture.

We need people like Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, people who care about artists, because artists are the people who move our emotions. They carry us through the tough times.

Brandy is a Grammy-winning musical artist

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