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Why Fortune named Chimamanda Adichie one of world’s 50 greatest leaders

Fortune magazine has named Nigerian-born award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie one of the world’s greatest leaders.

The 39-year-old multi-award winning writer, Adichie, now ranks alongside Pope Francis of the Catholic Holy See, philanthropist Melinda Gates, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, basketball star Lebron James, singer Shakira and others.

Fortune Fifty List seeks to recognize and celebrate iconic individuals who are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same in business, government, philanthropy, and the arts.

Fortune describes Adichie as:

The prize-winning Nigerian writer has won admirers with her prose and a pair of viral TED Talks (one of which was famously sampled by Beyoncé). But Adichie has been most powerful in challenging her audiences to think differently and more expansively about Africa, identity, race, and gender.

Many in the English-speaking world have embraced the invitation, and she has emerged as a feminist icon — she tells girls to get over being liked — and a fearless political and cultural critic.

The outspoken writer recently ruffled feathers in the LGBT community around the world, when she said, “Trans women are trans women,” maintaining that they do not share the same experiences as “real women” because they grew up “enjoying the privileges of being a man.”

Adichie has since made efforts to clarify her comments but has vehemently continued to stand by her initial statement.

Chicago Cubs baseball President Theo Epstein tops the Fortune list, and rounding out the top three is Jack Ma of AliBaba and Pope Francis of the Catholic church,  second and third place respectively.

The list also features philanthropist Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at No. 4, comedienne Samantha Bee at No. 19, and Colombian-born music superstar Shakira at No. 27.

Other prominent Blacks on the list include NBA superstar LeBron James at No. 11, Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chairman of Econet Wireless Global Ltd at No. 33, civil rights advocate Tamika Mallory at No. 34, and Chance the Rapper at No. 46.

Adichie is the author of several award-winning books, including “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Purple Hibiscus.” Her novel “Americanah” recently won the “One Book, One New York” campaign organised by the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in collaboration with BuzzFeed.


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