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My mom mutes every commercial. She holds zero patience for solicited programming. But I'm convinced today's Whiskey in Your Coffee will change her mind. We’re offering up ads that even she would enjoy, introducing you to the biggest laugh riots on TikTok and giving you an early glimpse of the Black-owned companies that could be the next unicorns. All with a little pickle for extra flavor, and a fun game to tease your eyesight.
Joshua Eferighe, Reporter
News in a Minute
1. Keeping the Flock Together
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s controversial conspiracy theories but pushed back against Democrats’ demands to remove her from House committees. Meanwhile, the GOP voted to keep Rep. Liz Cheney — opposed by supporters of former President Donald Trump — in the party’s leadership. (Sources: WaPo, NYT)
2. Vaccine Divide
It’s the new gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Mexico is nearly out of COVID-19 vaccines even as Canada stockpiles nearly 10 shots for each citizen. Chile and New Zealand are also hoarding more shots than they need. Should the U.N. act against such nations? Vote here. (AP, Guardian)
3. Communication Wars
The Indian government has threatened Twitter with penalties or even jail for its executives unless it removes “inflammatory” anti-government content on the country’s farmer protests, while Myanmar has blocked Facebook days after a military coup. (Sources: Times of India, TechCrunch)
4. Opioid Profiteer
Consulting giant McKinsey has agreed to a $573 million settlement with 47 U.S. states that have accused it of encouraging pharma firms to push the sale of opioids that have claimed at least 400,000 American lives since 1999. (Source: WSJ)
Show Him the Money
And he’ll do nothing for you. That’s the point. You can hire Tokyo-based Shoji Morimoto to accompany you to court for a divorce hearing, pose for an Instagram photo or eat with you: but don’t expect a conversation. He has attracted thousands of clients in a country notorious for its loneliness epidemic.
You’ve probably heard us talk about Cariuma, our favorite sustainable sneaker company, before. And maybe you’ve skipped over before, but this time, you want to listen.
We've been waiting for the launch of the its new color (with a waitlist of 16,000) and it’s finally here with special access for OZY readers. From navy to stone grey, get our favorite sneakers while they last. And best of all, OZY readers get an exclusive $15 off with the code OZY!
They’ll make you laugh until you cry … and then laugh some more.
Baby Simba might need a manager if his 4.8 million TikTok subscriber base keeps growing. He and the rest of Brocodeconduct — his creative collective — showcase jokes in head-to-head stand-up heats, offering a new style of comedy that has the platform up in a stir. “Why did the Tupperware lady escape from jail?” one of them asks in a skit. “Because they couldn't contain her,” another responds. There’s no containing the Georgia natives either.
She can switch between characters with a flinch of a facial muscle and has sketches that will make you spit out your drink. Originally from Ecuador, Estefania Saavedra is also a makeup artist — a skill she uses to add another layer to her performances that have helped her draw nearly a million followers.
Whether as a nosey neighbor or an annoying co-worker, Gabbie will leave you gasping from laughing with characters and sketches that have made the Nigerian actress and filmmaker a household name within the TikTok community. Check out these skits she’s made for a character called Flora.
Spot the Difference
We’re back, with round two! Can you see the four things that are different between these two images above?
There are no African American-owned startups with a $1 billion valuation. And even Africa has only three Black-owned unicorns — Nigeria’s Jumia and Interswitch, and South Africa’s Cell C. But a new set of firms is knocking on the door, promising to change that landscape.
It’s creating the digital barbershop of the future. From loyalty programs to cashless payments, the startup is helping independent barbers adapt in ways that have become only more important during the pandemic. It has drawn a rush of investments that have raised its valuation to $250 million. The U.S. firm now hopes to expand to Canada and Australia. Ready for a 21st century haircut?
What if you could fund your education doing what you love most: playing video games? That’s the impossible-sounding idea behind PlayVS’s early success. It helps U.S. schools set up esports programs and hold competitions with major scholarships — worth $900,000 for this academic year — on the table. With investments totaling $106 million, PlayVS is letting students play for their education — literally.
Tune In to OZY's Latest Podcast
Based on the HISTORY channel documentary series, OZY and HISTORY are proud to bring you your new podcast obsession: The Food That Built America. Hear about the bold visionaries behind some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. We start with chemical genius and opium addict John Pemberton and a brilliant pharmacist-turned-promoter, Asa Candler, who transformed an obscure soda tonic into one of the most recognizable brands on the planet: Coca-Cola. Listen now onApple Podcasts,Spotify,Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
Ads to Remember
There have been great commercials and horrid ones. Here are my picks.
1. Calbee Chips
Ok, so this one from Calbee, a popular Japanese healthy snacks manufacturer, is kind ofcreepy … but also so silly it's funny. A dog attempts to cheer up its owner by dancing. Except, it’s actually a grown person in a horrendous dog outfit. Ultimately the Calbee chips cheer the boy up but the true feat is him not running for his life. As I would have.
2. McDonald's ‘Cancha’
A late night pickup game of soccer played in the lights of commercial businesses is forced to end early when the establishments shut for the night. Only one company — you know which one — turns them back on so they can finish, culminating in a warm-hearted “Kumbaya” moment. Junk food isn't junk after all.
3. Always — ‘Like a Girl’
During Super Bowl XLIX, always played off the patriarchal phrase “like a girl,” and got everyday people to run, throw and demonstrate exactly what they thought it meant for this commercial. The result? A cultural reset that's “always” worth a revisit.
If you’re like us, you’ve gotten used to working from the comfort of home wrapped in cozy blankets and might dread the idea of putting on “real clothes.” With Outerknown’s Blanket Shirt, your problem is solved: It is rugged, sustainable and the coziest shirt ever. Don’t let its stylishness fool you: The Blanket Shirt can also stand up to the elements and function as an extra layer on chilly nights. And now it’s available for men and women!
Thanks to our friends at Outerknown, OZY readers get an exclusive 20 percent off with the code OKOZY.
From eggplant and zucchini to carrots, beets and even grape leaves,turşu can include all of these vegetables and dates back millennia. And on hot days, turşu suyu — juice pickled the same way — is a perfect refreshment.
2. Burmese Cucumber Pickle
Want a really classy pickle? Try this Burmese recipe that transforms the humble cucumber into a five-star entree just by adding fried shallots, toasted sesame seeds and other seasonings.
3. Escabeche de Pescado
Ceviche isn’t the only great Peruvian fish recipe. Take fried fish fillet and flavor it with onion, garlic and Peru’s famous yellow and panca chili peppers. Then serve it with a cob of corn, sweet potato and lettuce. You’ll be licking your lips until the next meal.
Got it Right?
Yes, you too got last Thursday’s “spot the difference” puzzle right! In all, more than 100 of you correctly spotted Bernie Sanders in his mittens, green and blue hats, coils of different lengths and an extra wheel in one image.
Here are the latest among you to get it right. Denny D., Robert D., James C., Scott G., Sonya P., Steven T., Bob A., C. Simonson, Steve E., Susan B., Meredith A., Pat B., Victoria G., Kenneth E., Deon K., Rinaldo R., Kurt J.C., Elise M., Sam S., Bhaskar R.D., Dominic P., George F., Alan W., D. Courtnier, Gary G., Carolyn W., Elliot P., Patrick P. and Leon N. — congratulations!
Check next week for answers to today’s quiz and those who got it right.