He’s an expert in the stories that move us. OZY is proud to welcome the Academy and Emmy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer to curate today’s PDB. The mastermind behind shows like Empire, 24 and Arrested Development, and movies like A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and 8 Mile, is also the author of the New York Times bestseller A Curious Mind. Next month will see the release of his Inferno, directed by his longtime filmmaking partner Ron Howard. Today he joins the ranks of past curators such as Satya Nadella, Karl Rove, and Ken Burns to share his take on today’s must-know news and trends, in the briefs below.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Maybe all you need is love. Amid the racial tension and protests that continue to flare — from Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco to Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Tulsa and Charlotte — it’s worth remembering the deep roots of civil disobedience. The Beatles’ courageous stand against segregation started in 1964, in Jacksonville, Florida, when the Fab Four refused to perform unless the audience was mixed. As our new documentary Eight Days a Week shows, band members risked real consequences to stand up for what they believed in. That’s something we can all aspire to.
It’s time to act. By the end of 2015, a mind-boggling 65 million people were refugees. My wife and I were able to put a human face to the statistic by hosting a teen refugee recently. Born in Afghanistan, Sonita Alizadeh was almost sold into marriage at age 10. She escaped, taught herself to rap by listening to Eminem and created a music video that went viral. Refugees are human beings with hopes and dreams, and they deserve the opportunity for a real future. Nations must address this — the most dire crisis of our time.
So much for hashing things out. The U.S., siding with rebels, and Russia, allied with Bashar Assad, failed to reach an agreement in Syria this week to prop up a collapsed truce. Now the country is being subjected to a regime-led push to retake rebel-held areas. Assad’s warplanes are pounding Aleppo, where human rights activists say scores have died and where centers set up to help victims are reportedly being hit. American and Russian officials pointing fingers and getting nowhere will only add to the trouble — and to hard feelings on both sides.
Police Arrest Man in Macy’s Carnage, Charlotte Police Release Videos and ‘Wandering in the Wilderness’
Know This: “The King” Arnold Palmer, the gentlemanly star who ushered in golf’s power game and made it a television sport, died at 87. Arcan Cetin, 20, whose posted hometown is in Turkey, is in custody after the Friday Cascade Mall shootings in Washington State that killed five. On the eve of their first debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are virtually tied in polls. And Florida Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, died with two other men in a boating accident off of Miami.
Watch These: Charlotte, N.C., authorities have released videos of police shooting Keith Lamont Scott, but they don’t conclusively show if he was armed — as police maintain — or not.
Remember This: “The American story … of suffering and delight, one of fear, but also of hope, of wandering in the wilderness, and then seeing, out on the horizon, a glimmer of the Promised Land.” That’s what President Obama sees in the new National Museum of African History and Culture in the nation’s capital, which he dedicated yesterday.
Reports of the death of movies are wildly exaggerated. Stories matter and always will. But to earn an audience, a story — regardless of platform — must have the urgency of a live event. To wit: A few weeks ago in L.A., everyone ran to see Drake in concert, whether they liked him or not, so they could participate in the conversation. What great stories do is ignite indelible emotions. They bring us together, they inspire and empower us — and they will always be in fashion.
It’s all about the ice. For me, a magnificent hotel has a buzzing lobby, authentic service, a fabulous bed — and a bar that smells of good stories and strong drinks. Not necessarily in that order. So we were delighted to spend a recent weekend at the newly renovated Ritz Hotel in Paris, where renowned mixologist (before the term even existed) Colin Field helms the famed Hemingway Bar. Field was proud to tell me about a new cocktail he’d perfected — the “Clean Dirty Martini.” No joke, it was the best martini I have ever had!
I’m in the feelings business. In a media interview for my book, A Curious Mind, a reporter asked me what a “producer” really does, and it occurred to me that while I may be in the business of Hollywood, I’m really in the “feelings” business. My job as a storyteller is to evoke emotion through stories that involve triumph, redemption and empowerment. Indeed, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have to communicate. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a CEO or a dinner guest, nothing beats a well-told story to teach, inspire or entertain.
Throw out the checklists. In the burnout world of driving our kids to get into “the right college” by getting the best test scores and leading the right clubs, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Stanford’s former dean of freshmen, gives parents an interesting new perspective: the checklisted child’s. Replace the accolade-hunting with unconditional love and chores, she recommends. Turns out, the most successful adults had to do chores when they were kids. Since I’m constantly trying to evolve, and a lot of that energy is focused on being the best father I can be, I found this TED Talk well worthwhile.
I got very excited when the MacArthur Foundation announced the 2016 winners of its so-called “genius” grants this week. This astonishing program gives $625,000 to each grantee — no strings attached — to pursue their life’s work. I think we love genius because it inspires us. For 30 years, I’ve employed a discipline of having “curiosity conversations” every two weeks with an expert in anything other than what I do — from the late Jonas Salk to Queen Bey — aiming to expand my own intellectual and emotional capacity.