These are the most powerful people in Boston, according to Boston Magazine

The glossy mag's annual list of movers and shakers has a number of new names and faces this year.

Boston magazine Power Issue cover - May 2021
Ibram X. Kendi on the cover of Boston Magazine's May 2021 issue. Boston Magazine

Following a year of nationwide reckoning with racial injustice and examining how existing power structures contribute to systemic racism, Boston Magazine’s annual Power List has a number of new names for its 2021 edition.

The magazine’s annual ranking of Boston’s 100 biggest power brokers hits newsstands Wednesday, with antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi, gracing the cover of the May 2021 issue.

Kendi, who placed No. 2 on the list, joined the faculty of Boston University last spring as the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi and the school are also collaborating with the Boston Globe on reviving and reimagining The Emancipator, the first abolitionist publication in the United States.


“When The Emancipator was first founded in 1820, it was very difficult for people to believe that slavery, 45 years later, would be no more, just as I think there are many people today who can’t imagine that there could be a nation without racism and inequality,” Kendi said following announcement of the publication. “This reimagined platform will marry the best of scholarship and journalism to analyze, comment, and seek truth about the racial problems of our time.”

Other new names on the list include anti-violence organizer Monica Cannon-Grant, Boston Globe culture columnist Jeneé Osterheldt, Lawyers for Civil Rights executive director Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, and King Boston executive director Imari Paris Jeffries.

The No. 1 spot on last year’s Power List went to “All of Us,” as Bostonians hunkered down at the start of the pandemic. This time around, the list is topped by the vaccine makers at Moderna, the Cambridge-based biotech and pharmaceutical company that first announced a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in November.

“This year, we chose Boston’s vaccine makers as No. 1 on the list because they, more than anyone, have influenced the outcome of the past year and set the standard for what we can achieve,” wrote Boston Magazine contributing editor David Bernstein. “There are many luminaries from the life-sciences community on the pages that follow, but none of them has risen to the occasion as much as Modern CEO Stéphane Bancel and chair Noubar Afeyan.”


Other notables to make the list include U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (No. 3), Gov. Charlie Baker ( No. 4), Boston Globe CEO Linda Pizzuti Henry (No. 7), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (No. 8), Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins (No. 21), NAACP Boston Chapter president Tanisha Sullivan (No. 27), and Boston Mayor Kim Janey (No. 32).

Finishing No. 100 out of 100 is “The Ghost of Tom Brady,” honoring the former Patriots quarterback’s continued influence on the region from sunny Tampa Bay. TB12 finished well behind Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who landed at No. 33 this year.

Get's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on