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MasterClass Announces First Thematic Class on the Power of Empathy Led by Pharrell Williams

MasterClass Announces First Thematic Class on the Power of Empathy Led by Pharrell Williams

MasterClass has announced that a diverse range of thought leaders will come together to take MasterClass members on a journey into the many facets of empathy—and teach how to exercise, cultivate and promote empathy in a world that can always use more of it. Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams spearheads the class, alongside current MasterClass instructors Robin Arzón, Roxane GayWalter Mosley, and Robert Reffkin and upcoming MasterClass instructors Gloria Steinem and Cornel West, sharing experiences with empathy and its importance in their lives and careers. The class is now available on MasterClass.

“This class is a first for MasterClass—we are featuring multiple instructors teaching how they apply empathy in their lives and work as artists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “There’s no way we can cover the entire subject of empathy in one class, but this is our entry point. This class will hopefully teach, inspire and serve as a thought starter for all of us to act in more empathetic ways.”

“I wanted to create this class because empathy is something I am passionate about, and I believe it is one of the most important things we can learn,” Pharrell Williams said. “Empathy’s greatest potential is equality for all humankind, and we haven’t seen that yet. This class is my contribution to humanity, and I hope bringing different powerful minds together to talk about this topic brings us one step closer.”

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In this class, members will learn about the evolution of empathy, the power of writing to generate empathy, its role as a democratizing force, and more. Lessons in this class include:

  • Pharrell Williams will share how empathy is the driving force behind his success and the best tool for understanding others.
  • Robin Arzón, head instructor and VP of fitness programming at Peloton and New York Times bestselling author of Shut Up and Run, will talk about the correlation between athletes and empathy and the ways community helps us feel more empowered and connected.
  • Roxane Gay, an award-winning author, editor, professor and cultural critic, will delve into how writing has the potential to create meaningful change in society by generating empathy in readers. 
  • Walter Mosley, an acclaimed novelist who has published more than 60 books across multiple genres, will talk about how reading builds empathy by expanding our worldview and teaching us about other people’s experiences.
  • Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, will discuss how empathetic leadership can lead to a more successful workplace.
  • Gloria Steinem, a journalist and women’s rights activist, will discuss the importance of empathy to the human experience.
  • Cornel West, a professor, philosopher and political activist, will share the historical evolution of empathy, how it can be applied in public policy and the connection between poverty and empathy.
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