Dear OZY Family,
I hope you’re all well, and staying safe and healthy.
We’re so proud to be launching The Carlos Watson Show on Monday, with an exclusive YouTube sneak peak today for our subscribers — and a special nod to our friends at American Family Insurance. We believe this is the perfect show for this moment, and as we launch, I wanted to share a few thoughts.
- First, a Bit of Background on Me: I grew up the son of Indian immigrants in the suburbs of Detroit. Like so many others, my folks worked incredibly hard to give my brother and me meaningful opportunities. A math and economics major, a music lover and die-hard Michigan sports fan, I moved out to California almost 10 years ago with my wife for an adventure, part of which was a new venture with Carlos called OZY, to satisfy our desire for smarter, fresher and more diverse media. Today, I’m older, humbler, more curious and open-eyed about what success demands — but also convinced that our vision for OZY is more relevant than ever.
- A Time to Listen: As so many of you confirmed with your heartfelt responses to our #ResetAmerica effort, we are living in a moment that calls for action. But while striving to be true allies in the pursuit of racial and social equality, we must ground our action in real understanding and listening. I’ve known Carlos for a decade as a colleague, co-founder and dear friend — and I don’t think there is anybody more qualified to facilitate the honest and genuine dialogue that we’re craving.
- Carlos Is the Voice We Need: Whether he’s interviewing President Bill Clinton, hosting a town hall with 100 Black men or mentoring high school students, Carlos brings a warmth, intellectual range and open-mindedness that takes you beyond scripted Q&As or “gotcha” sound bites and into places of insight and inspiration. As best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates said recently in a conversation with him, “Carlos is good!”
- The Case for Open-Mindedness: Carlos and I talk often about where his innate curiosity comes from — I find him genuinely interested in a wider range of people than most of us, and uncommonly open to learning from each of them. And it means that each night, this show will deliver on one of OZY’s core promises: to introduce new voices that you need to hear, such as Rep. Karen Bass, Simon Sinek and Tina Knowles Lawson, alongside names we know well, including Malcolm Gladwell, John Legend, Sean Spicer and Jameela Jamil.
Like any two partners and brothers, Carlos and I disagree often, at times sharply. Especially in the charged moment we’re living through, where the loudest voices can drown out expressions of reason, I sometimes question whether everyone deserves the platform OZY provides.
- Choosing Not to Listen Is a Luxury: But as Carlos has shared, as a Black man who always fought against the odds — from working his way to Harvard, to hosting on MSNBC and CNN, to becoming one of the few Black CEOs in media — he has never had the luxury of choosing not to listen. There was no path available to him that easily sidestepped those with whom he might disagree — and he repeatedly, consistently chose to learn rather than walk away.
Many of us criticize the echo chamber of news and opinion we wish we could tune out, but I believe we must instead actively shed the privilege not to listen.
- Fresh Conversations on The Carlos Watson Show: It’s time for a fresh set of conversations. Ones that are worth listening to. Ones that are as entertaining as they are illuminating. You may not necessarily agree with everything you hear, but we offer them as opportunities for us to listen and learn, together.
Join us — starting tonight on The Carlos Watson Show — and tell me what you think. I promise I will read each of your comments and get back to you.