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Growing up in a Catholic family as the eldest of 10 kids, it isn’t surprising I loved TheSound of Music. What is surprising? That Captain von Trapp — or, at least, the late Christopher Plummer, who played the role — absolutely abhorred it. Learn why, plus dig deep into immigration border battles with our first OZY movie, meet some game-changing global architects and explore how hometown baseball fared as spring training begins. The hills are alive with the sound of whiskey dropping into your coffee today. Read on.
Fast-food workers across 15 American cities went on strike to demand a $15 minimum wage, incorporating a racial equity twist by channeling Black History Month and allying with Black Lives Matter organizers. Workers are even striking in Houston, Chicago and Atlanta, which have been hit hard by a deep freeze that’s already killed at least 26 people. (Sources: Fast Company, Independent, CNN)
2. Secret Trial
Myanmar’s military regime appears to have started its case against deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi a day early, without her lawyer present — or notified. Initially charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies, she now faces another charge of violating coronavirus restrictions, which could carry a maximum sentence of three years. (Sources: Guardian, AP)
3. Prisoner Princess
Latifa Al Maktoum, the daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler, tried to flee the United Arab Emirates in 2018, but was forcibly returned. Now she begs for her release in a new BBC documentary, saying, “I’m a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail.” The UAE says she’s safe with her family, but friends and human rights campaigners have convinced the U.N. to step in after her secret video messages abruptly stopped. (Sources: BBC, Guardian)
4. Heaven and Earth
The U.S. could have trouble filling the skies with F-35s if Beijing goes through with a proposed export limit on 17 rare earth minerals crucial to building fighter jets. China controls about four-fifths of the global supply. Its choice comes as Sino-U.S. relations falter and a technology trade war brews between the world powers. (Sources: Financial Times, Telegraph, Ars Technica, The Diplomat)
As small businesses across the country grapple with tough times, women — and especially Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs —face additional challenges accessing capitaldue tosystemic discrimination. To try to tip the scales back a bit in favor of businesswomen, JPMorgan Chase & Co. established a $10 billion funding commitment to help those who are struggling, explains managing director Samantha Saperstein. By carefully managing cash flow — and with a little help — small-business owners stand a better chance of thriving.
Demi Moore has praised the wonders of leech therapy, and she isn’t the only fan. Once used by Joseph Stalin to treat blood circulation issues, the alternative treatment is seeing a resurgence among health-conscious millennials in Russia, now home to the world’s largest leech farm.
Asylum-seekers are still grappling with the aftermath of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
It has always been in OZY's DNA to tell important stories in fresh and surprising ways. So it is an honor to team up with Lifetime for our first foray into film, sharing the true and chilling story of a mother and daughter separated at the U.S.-Mexico border in Torn From Her Arms. The project is based in part on my on-ground reporting last year from cartel-controlled Matamoros, Mexico, and the Texas border town of Brownsville. You can read more about the film here, while the complex and tragic stories at the border continue to play out — even with a transfer of power in Washington.
The new president can’t simply wave a magic pen and eliminate former President Donald Trump's legacy. His deportation pause was temporarily blocked by Trump-appointed Texas Judge Drew Tipton, presaging the challenges ahead. Meanwhile, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy — since reversed by Biden — left a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of asylum-seekers bottlenecked in border camps and unable to get adequate legal representation while waiting in dangerous, cartel-controlled towns such as Matamoros.
4. On the Front Lines
Mexico-born lawyer Efrén Olivares discovered the child separation crisis in the summer of 2018, which ProPublica reporter Ginger Thompson exposed by releasing the heart-wrenching audio tape of a crying Salvadoran child. While Trump officially announced an end to child separations, its replacement, the “Remain in Mexico” policy, shifted the entirety of the immigration crisis on a handful of mostly female lawyers of color in South Texas — who, despite the odds, call themselves chingonas: badasses.
Architects of Change
While some build walls, others work to build a more equal society — starting with the very buildings we spend much of our lives in.
Only 2 percent of America's architects are Black, and just 0.4 percent are African American women. The 37-year-old president of the National Organization of Minority Architects is trying to change that, working with North America's 60 largest architecture firms to double the number of Black architects over the next decade, while mentoring school students to inspire them to take up the profession. Read more on OZY.
2. David Adjaye
The son of a diplomat, the Tanzanian-born Ghanaian British architect had lived in eight countries by the time he was 13. One of the world's most sought-after architects, Adjaye has crafted landmark monuments like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and taken on projects from Australia and Abu Dhabi, to Lebanon and Ghana. He's worked with everyone from Brad Pitt to Ewan McGregor. But his next project has a subversive edge: a Holocaust memorial next to London's Houses of Parliament, as a reminder of the massacres committed in the name of race and religion.
3. Alejandro Aravena
When you walk down the road, it seems like you're looking at one building. In fact, the multi-story structure is two buildings joined at the hip, like Siamese twins. It's just one of the masterpieces that have made Aravena a global architectural force. A winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize — the field's most feted award — the Chilean architect with salt-and-pepper hair believes he got lucky. Growing up under dictator Augusto Pinochet, even items like international magazines were banned. Architecture schools were an exception and allowed Aravena to learn from other parts of the world. Now he's returning the favor.
Lifetime Greenlights OZY Immigration Film
It has always been in OZY's DNA to tell important but overlooked stories. So it’s an honor to team up with Lifetime for our first foray into film, sharing the true and chilling story of a mother and daughter separated at the U.S.-Mexico border in Torn From Her Arms. We’re thrilled to help bring the story of Cindy and Jimena Madrid, as reported by OZY's Nick Fouriezos, to the big screen. Read more.
The Struggle for Hometown Baseball
Speaking of change, the MLB architected its own by axing 43 minor league squads ... meaning not everyone will make it to spring training this year.
1. Running Over Their Roots
Has the MLB made a NASCAR-level mistake? After the stock league dumped a number of smaller-market races in North Carolina, bitter fans felt abandoned … leading to a dip in grassroots support. And with baseball eliminating professional affiliations with the 108-year-old Appalachian League running from northeast Tennessee through southwest Virginia, baseball better be prepared to face not just the human cost of contraction, but also the financial one. Read on OZY.
2. Global Ambassadors
One less-heralded aspect of the baseball feeder system has been the way it introduced predominantly poor, white, rural communities to talented players from around the world. The international athletes often live with local families, eating their food, trading experiences and languages. That exchange will continue throughout Minor League Baseball … but not in those towns left behind. Read on OZY.
3. Double-A Drama
We return to one of TV’s most successful franchises of the 21st century with one of its most successful stars. Kenya Moore from The Real Housewives of Atlanta shares intimate details of her journey as a mother — and whether she’s “brave enough” to think about a second child — and insights into how to build a multimillion-dollar business as a side hustle to her full-time job and parenting duties. Subscribe now for more.
Remembering Christopher Plummer
Following the Canadian actor’s recent death, here are some must-watch moments from a seven-decade career.
His breakout role was playing a nun-loving father of seven, but Plummer despised the movie, once decrying it as “so awful and sentimental and gooey” and refusing for decades to call it by anything other than “that movie” or “the sound of mucus.” What to watch instead? While his flight from what audiences adored cost him for years, Plummer emerged in the ’90s as a grizzled, weathered sexegenarian, with one of his finest performances as journalist Mike Wallace in The Insider.
2. Listen Closely
One of the top Pixar films of the 2000s was Up, the unlikely box-office hit about a curmudgeonly 78-year-old forging a friendship with a boy scout. And if you listen, you’ll hear Plummer in the voice of the regally villainous Charles Muntz, the idolized explorer who has clearly lost his moral compass. It capstones a surprisingly rich dalliance with voice acting, after using his French accent acquired in Quebec to also voice the philosophical pigeon Henri in An American Tail more than two decades before Up.
3. Closing Act
The final years were a tour de force even as Plummer approached 91. His 2010 role in Beginners as a dying patriarch finally coming out of the closet was touching. He earned the third and final Oscar nomination of his career as the oil magnate John Paul Getty in All the Money in the World in 2017, despite having been a last-minute addition to the cast. And his final film, as a brilliant crime novelist who hosts his 85th birthday party only to turn up dead? Knives Out offers spellbinding dance between playing both the victim and the mastermind.
This Whiskey in Your Coffee got a shot of flavor from Senior Editor Charu Sudan Kasturi.