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OZY Media Takes Genius Grants to the Next Level with NFTs and Sophia Victor


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — OZY is delighted to announce its efforts to launch purpose-driven NFTs to further enhance its OZY Genius Grant program (OGA) – first launched in 2015 – and empower future OGA recipients via profound and meaningful partnerships.

OZY and its OGA partners will harness the power of blockchain technology in the latest series of the OZY Genius Awards, using NFT to build, inspire and reward OZY’s ever-growing community while creating additional funding streams for the OGA program and the winners.

This year, OZY is celebrating our history of recognizing and supporting budding talent through our OZY Genius Award, by spotlighting 10 past OGA winners – those who have previously received grants of up to $10,000 to help them pursue and begin to realize their dreams. These rising stars include Amanda Gorman, an OZY Genius Award winner in 2017, who elevated the world with her powerful poem at the U.S.’s 2021 Presidential Inauguration. 

Non-fungible tokens will be a central component for OZY’s enhanced OGA program given its unique ability to shine a light on grant recipients and their meaningful works as well to further engage an interested community. This year’s program will partner with select sponsors and fashion collectables that highlight the past recipients, utilizing the NFTs for social good. 

It’s one thing to mint an NFT, but it’s quite another to attach meaningful and significant artwork that itself furthers its purpose. For this special Genius Class of 2022, OZY has partnered with the inspiring and gifted Sophia Victor (formerly known as Sophia Dawson), a Brooklyn based visual artist who has told the stories of those who have overcome injustice for over a decade. Victor’s work has been exhibited at some of the country’s best-known museums of fine art. Her work is currently exhibited at The Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn, which supports aspiring and established artists to be catalysts for positive change. The NFT collection will feature Victor’s rendering of the selected OGA winners and is expected to be minted and launched by July 2022.

“I couldn’t be more delighted to join OZY in supporting other underrepresented creators through my art and passion”, said Victor. “From our perspective, we couldn’t have found a better artist, so committed to promoting social justice and important causes,” added OZY’s Managing Editor, Beverly Watson. “Sophia epitomizes how creators can have an impact operating in their gift and talent. That’s why we are so excited about joining forces with her and using a new and important technology to build community and further the OGA mission.”

Bishop Gallery’s Co-owner, Stevenson Dunn, Jr, shared his enthusiasm and said, “this is a perfect partnership. We believe in empowering artists from all over the world, and OZY’s forward-looking and progressive platform supports our mission of bringing together communities and inciting conversations of change and development.” 

With these new NFTs, collectors can potentially bank a genius “rookie” card of Gorman or any of our other previous OGA winners. In addition, the offering won’t be a one-time event. Royalty proceeds can be generated from both the initial offering and further downstream, as collectors continue to fund the program at each transaction. Indeed, OZY anticipates creating a foundation to further these specific purpose-driven efforts, administer anticipated NFT auctions and ensure continued alignment with social good that’s become a hallmark of OZY’s OGAs.

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In the tradition and following of MacArthur Genius Grants, artists’ residency programs and startup incubator effort, OZY similarly seeks to mentor, cultivate, and discover emerging stars in a wide range of fields. With the NFTs, OZY is adding not only more community spirit to these budding geniuses who are pitching novels, films, apps, startups and more, but lasting community engagement. And, through Victor’s amazing artistry and eye — together with sponsorships and self-executing smart contracts, OZY hopes to create an engine to power the creators of tomorrow — today. 

Launched in 2013, OZY has built a diverse and unique voice in media, including 5 newsletters, 12 tv shows, 9 podcasts, and 4 festivals. In 2020, OZY won an Emmy Award for its ground-breaking television program, Black Women OWN the Conversation.

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