Carlos Watson is an Emmy-award winning journalist, entrepreneur and television host who has proved regardless of society’s labels or stereotypes, you can overcome the odds.
As the co-founder and CEO of digital media company OZY, Watson has helped build an audience of 40 million monthly visitors and 2 million subscribers. With all of his success, you may never have imagined that as a young boy growing up in Miami, Florida, Watson struggled in school and teachers labeled him as disruptive, troublesome and “retarded.”
While many young black boys are easily subjected to mislabeling in the school system, Watson’s mother would not allow that to be her son’s fate.
“Being an older mom gave her the confidence that when the school system said otherwise, to not give up and to go navigate it well,” Watson told theGrio’s Natasha Alford during a recent episode of TheGrio Live.
Watson says his mother sought out an intelligence test from a child psychologist at the University of Miami, which proved that he was in fact accelerated and way ahead of pace.
“My mom got me on a different path, and by the way, it wasn’t one intervention,” says Watson. “She probably had to intervene at least four times during my elementary school years. Every year, they would try to put me back in what they considered the ‘slow path.’ And that was even after I’d done well in school, even after I’d done well in standardized tests, they would still try to put me back.”
He would go on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his J.D (Juris Doctor) from Stanford Law School, create and sell his own test prep company, then build a successful career in media and broadcast news
Now Watson is making his mark in digital media with OZY Media and has landed a new TV show on PBS in partnership with OZY.
“I love the news, but sometimes felt like it was a little repetitive, a little boring, “ said Watson. “People would repeat the same four or five stories and I felt like [OZY] was a real opportunity for someone to break out of whatever kind of bubble that was and help people see more of the world.”
The Third Rail with OZY, premieres September 8th on PBS. Watson will moderate open discussion with celebrity guests every every Friday at 8:30pm ET.
“Third Rail with OZY will be an arena for open and honest conversations about provocative topics, offering a variety of viewpoints and spirited debate on some of the most critical issues facing our society,” says Watson.
“Now more than ever it is important we bring these conversations out of the shadows and into the light, offering people perspective and an opportunity to make their voices heard.”
Check out the full interview with Carlos Watson on The Grio’s Facebook page: