2:00pm PT by Chris Gardner
WSJ Magazine Sets Virtual Innovator Awards With BTS, Jennifer Lopez, Michaela Coel, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
WSJ. Magazine's annual Innovator Awards event is typically filled with titans of tech, fashion, film, art, media, design, activism and other disciplines, all mingling inside the Museum of Modern Art. For example, last year’s guest list included Julianne Moore, Eddie Murphy, Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Trevor Noah, Jerry Seinfeld, Gigi Hadid, Tyler, The Creator, A$AP Rocky, Riccardo Tisci, Jason Wu and Melina Matsoukas.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WSJ. editors are inviting the public to attend the event for the first time this year as the Innovator Awards shift to a virtual format scheduled for Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. EST. That is not the only milestone: WSJ. Mag is celebrating a 10th anniversary for the franchise or, "A Decade of Innovation," and bringing a slew of A-listers along for the digital party.
Confirmed to participate on Wednesday evening will be BTS, Jennifer Lopez, Tyler Perry, Ava DuVernay, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Maluma, Michaela Coel, Patti Smith, Darren Walker, Titus Kaphar, MASS Design Group, Taraji P. Henson, Ethan Hawke, Swizz Beatz, Hank Willis Thomas and James Corden. Though the entire program is saved for unveiling during the event, some of the aforementioned names will be honorees as featured in the magazine. Per an earlier report from People, Lopez has been named this year's Pop Culture Innovator.
As for why they are inviting audiences into the VIP scene for the first time, WSJ. Mag editor-in-chief Kristina O'Neill tells The Hollywood Reporter that it "feels appropriate at a time when people everywhere are craving hope and inspiration." Continues O'Neill: "The WSJ Innovators issue and awards have always been about storytelling. This year, since we're streaming the presentation online, we've leaned into making short documentary films that capture the passion and dedication of our extraordinary honorees."
Those who will be feted Wednesday join a long list that includes previous Innovators like Angelina Jolie, Bryan Stevenson, Dr. Dre, Elon Musk, Reese Witherspoon and Ai Wei Wei, to name a few. "Reaching this milestone has allowed us to both take stock of what innovation looks like today while also appreciating the many groundbreaking talents who have inspired us over the years," O'Neill said. "I like to think of WSJ Innovators as part of the magazine's extended family. I'm so proud and grateful for how that community has grown and strengthened over the past decade."