The Best of OZY Fest
By OZY Editors
What a weekend! OZY Fest streamed into homes around the world on Saturday and Sunday, delivering thrilling entertainment, interactive experiences and bold conversations. Our “TED meets Coachella” festival offered something for everyone, from cooking a five-star meal with Tom Colicchio and laughing with Tig Notaro, to gaining a deeper understanding of systemic racism, to enjoying a guided meditation with Deepak Chopra and singing along with Sevyn Streeter. Today’s Daily Dose offers highlights from these amazing sessions.
1. Malcolm Gladwell: The Intellectual Troublemaker
OZY CEO and Editor-in-Chief Carlos Watson sat down on Day One with the only guest who’s appeared at every OZY Fest: Malcolm Gladwell, the journalist, author and podcast host whose deeply probing mind has influenced the thinking of millions. Gladwell recently published his latest book, The Bomber Mafia, in which he weaves together the stories of World War II aviation pioneers to offer a riveting tale of obsession, innovation and moral dilemmas. At OZY Fest, the intellectual troublemaker took aim at the way America ranks its colleges, pointing out that HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) should receive much more recognition.
“We basically are measuring all of the wrong things. These schools that are doing amazing things are getting dissed by the rankings … [they] essentially tell you that HBCUs are at the bottom, and fancy, expensive, small liberal arts colleges in New England are at the top. And that is not a reflection of what they actually do as educational institutions … It may seem like a small thing, but it’s a reflection of our values.” Malcolm Gladwell
“These institutions are producing extraordinary leadership everywhere you look. They are rising once again and they are doing great work — and this is not a moment for HBCUs, this is a movement of HBCUs.” Dr. Michael Lomax
2. Has Capitalism Run Its Course?
This OZY Fest panel on Day One was hosted by the BBC’s Katty Kay and featured Fareed Zakaria and former San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Is capitalism a just social system, or is it doomed? What could be done better, and how does democracy play a part? The panel tackled these and many other provocative questions.
“I think capitalism, in terms of its generous growth, has run its course. But it’s transforming, it’s regenerating, into something more of a different social contract.” Carmen Yulín Cruz
“Let’s keep in mind that the greatest miracle of this pandemic has been the vaccines, and the vaccines have only really been possible because of a combination of extraordinary government funding but also extraordinary private enterprise ingenuity.” Fareed Zakaria
3. How to Combat Anti-Asian Hate
On Day Two of OZY Fest, Carlos Watson asked Sophia Chang, the first Asian woman in hip-hop, and chef Ming Tsai for their thoughts on how to combat the anti-Asian hate we’ve borne witness to in America in recent months.
“‘China virus’ started this … Because of the [Trump] administration, it became OK to be racist again.” Ming Tsai
“I don’t think we can talk about things like this without discussing the model minority myth, which has held down folks like me and Ming for decades … The model minority myth was created to drive a wedge.” Sophia Chang
4. Is Crypto the Future?
Dogecoin, cryptocurrency and NFTs are more than buzzwords that have emerged over the past year. Amid signs of inflation and an ever-weakening dollar, it would serve each of us to better understand the world of crypto. In this segment of OZY Fest, Carlos Watson tapped the minds of the industry’s experts to see where crypto, now worth hundreds of billions of dollars, is headed. The panel featured CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer, veteran crypto entrepreneur Lily Liu and activist and TV personality Matt James.
“It’s basically money with no bank in the middle. It’s money that you own. It’s gold for the digital age.” Lily Liu
“The thing I like about the cryptocurrency space is the exchange is faceless. You can’t be discriminatory across those lines.” Matt James
“We’ve been seeing money being printed endlessly. This is the hedge against that.” Jim Cramer
5. Will Biden Be a One-Term President?
Is the clock already ticking on the Biden presidency, just months into his tenure in the White House? Katty Kay put the question before a roundtable of political experts, including professor Eddie Glaude Jr., Obama presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and CNN’s S.E. Cupp, while also considering the competition Biden may face and how the president can restore Americans’ faith in good governance.
“My concern is that Republicans don’t even seem curious about running anyone other than Donald Trump in 2024 … They’re really condensing and consolidating the party. I’ve been likening it to the frozen orange juice that comes in a can — you’re meant to add water to that. It’s meant to grow. The party leadership doesn’t want it to grow, they want it to stay concentrated, so it’s pure Trump.” S.E. Cupp
6. What Does Real Racial Progress Look Like?
When George Floyd died last year at the hands of police officers, his murder triggered a historic movement that saw large-scale protests and calls for change. But has anything changed? Are we on our way to real racial progress? The Rev. Al Sharpton and Katty Kay discussed the impact of the past year and what we should fight for in the future.
“I think that the goal should not be post-racial. Why do we have to forget race to get along? I want you to celebrate my Blackness, your whiteness, someone else’s being Latinx, and if I have to stop being something for all of us to get along, then we are really not getting along.” Rev. Al Sharpton
7. I Have a Right To Be Angry
Rep. Maxine Waters holds forth on Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd, the performance so far of President Joe Biden and what a true political animal does for fun. These and other issues were part of the tête-à-tête between Waters and Carlos Watson on Day One of OZY Fest.
“My life is threatened constantly. And we have people who have been jailed and sentenced who have told people that they are going to kill me. I can’t live my life being threatened or intimidated. I am who I am, and I am a person who believes in freedom, justice and equality.” Rep. Maxine Waters
8. Battling the Pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci has held what could arguably be called The Worst Job in America from the moment we discovered COVID-19 was a global threat right up to now, when it appears we have that threat under control. Check out this conversation between Dr. Fauci and Carlos Watson on Day Two of OZY Fest as they discuss the long road back to a fully functioning society.
“If you want to be part of the solution and not the problem, get vaccinated … It’s mind-boggling to me how we can see people all around us dying and getting hospitalized and the common enemy is the virus, and we’re still fighting with each other.” Dr. Anthony Fauci
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