Ariana Grande's Place On The 'TIME' 100 Is Well-Deserved, No Matter What The Haters Say

Ariana Grande is no stranger to controversy, and now it seems even her greatest achievements are managing to shock people. On Thursday, TIME 's The 100 Most Influential People list for 2016 was revealed, and Ariana Grande scored a coveted spot. The list is broken down into five sections — Pioneers, Titans, Artists, Leaders, and Icons — and Grande is featured as an Artist, next to the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Oscar Isaac, and Charlize Theron. So why are people questioning the inclusion of the singer on the list? I think it's clear that Grande deserves her place on the TIME 100 Most Influential People List, for a plethora of reasons, so why is she getting hate for it at all?

2016 is sure to be huge for Ariana Grande, with long-awaited new album Dangerous Woman due out on May 20. Singles from the forthcoming record have already been drumming up excitement, and her appearance on Saturday Night Live in March 2016 was nothing short of legendary. With almost 11 million subscribers on YouTube, and over 38 million followers on Twitter, it's clear that Grande is incredibly influential right now, and totally deserving of her spot on TIME's much-lauded list. The fact that this is even a question just seems ridiculous to me.

While some have been questioning Grande's inclusion on TIME's 100 Most Influential People list, over the likes of Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, or Selena Gomez, for instance, fans are celebrating the "Focus" singer's latest accolade. It was undoubtedly tough to choose only 100 people to include on the list, and the fact that Grande made the cut isn't a comment on anyone who didn't make it. Instead, it signifies the impact the singer has had on popular culture, and the speed at which her popularity has soared. Grande really is winning right now, and it's awesome to see her recognized for her accomplishments. Jason Robert Brown, the award-winning composer responsible for Grande's breakthrough Broadway role in 13, wrote the sweetest message for TIME magazine about the star's inclusion on the list. His statement about is so perfect because it highlights all of the reasons haters are, as always, going to hate. He says,

"You’re going to be underestimated, you know. That’s how this goes, especially when you start young. Underestimated because you’re a girl, for one thing. Because you’re short and cute. Because you’re a child actor. Because you’re on Nickelodeon. Because you’re a white girl who wants to sing R&B. Because you wear cat ears and lingerie. Because you’re dating an actor, dating a boy-band singer, dating a rapper. You’re going to be underestimated."

As the composer points out, there are many things Grande is constantly criticized for — her beginnings as a child star, the genre of music she sings, the outfits she wears — but none of these can detract from the fact that she's incredibly talented and has the most amazing voice. Brown highlights the inherent sexism at play in the music industry, and the struggle young women face in being taken seriously.

Brown continues by saying that while people might underestimate the singer, there's no denying her musical abilities. His message is a thing of beauty, and encouragement when you need it most: "They’re going to underestimate you, and you, my beautiful friend, are going to make music." If you weren't convinced before that Grande deserved to be on the TIME 100 list, then Brown's statement should sway you. His undying belief in her talent is so inspiring, and also shows just how far she's come — from fledgling Broadway and Nickelodeon actor, to global superstar.

Grande will perform at the TIME 100 Gala alongside Nicki Minaj, who is also on the list, obviously. I'm more excited than ever for Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman album to come out now.