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Fireside Talk Alert: I Saw DJ Khaled and Ariana Huffington Share Major Knowledge

Noisey found the keys to success at a panel hosted by Khaled and Arianna Huffington at Columbia University Thursday night.

Emma May

It's almost finals season at Columbia University, and you can sense the stress permeating the campus. Despite the collective feeling of impending doom, last night hundreds of students lined up to attend a panel with media mogul Arianna Huffington and famed record producer, New York Times best selling author, and Snapchat king, DJ Khaled. Does their friendship seem unlike? Sure. But two are close friends, and the odd pairing didn't seem to stop people form showing up. Turns out, lots of people will stand in line in the cold to find the keys to success. 

Khaled is currently on tour to promote his book, The Keys, which came out in November. Regardless, Columbia students were lit as hell to see the Miami-based musician and his media mogul friend chat it up. Two hours before the doors for the event opened, a seemingly endless line formed outside of the event space. For the next hour and a half, I stood sandwiched in between two economics majors chatting about their upcoming finance internships. As I looked over the shoulder of the finance bro in front of me, I noticed that he was looking at the newly created university-wide meme page. After standing in line in silence for 45 minutes, we strike up a conversation about a Goldman Sachs meme. That led to us talking about the event itself, with one of my line-mates telling me that He he's excited to learn about the keys from Khaled himself. Most importantly, he said that this event has been "great for campus morale." He continued, "things like political correctness and events like the election have really divided us. The meme group and DJ Khaled have really united us." Meanwhile, the people around us were chanting, "Khaled! Khaled!" and posing for Snapchat selfies. Despite the political divisions on campus and pressure of final exams approaching, the promise of a chat with Khaled made this night feel different.

Students crowded a medium-sized lecture hall as Khaled emphasized the power of teamwork. For Khaled, "teamwork equals dreamwork…On your team, one person might be Lebron, one might be Michael Jordan, one might be D.Wade, but someone's gotta pass the ball." In an ultra-competitive environment like Columbia, I couldn't help but take his words to heart. The audience erupted in applause as Khaled told us that we shouldn't "burn bridges, because only God can walk on water." Hell yeah.

Khaled has many keys, which he lays out in his new book, but his second key, "securing the bag," resonated with me most. He describes "securing the bag" as securing the future. An hypothetical example of this that Khaled provided was a scenario wherein his pal Arianna was on her way to secure a "100 million dollar deal", but she decides to drink and drive before the meeting. If she were to do this, "she's not securing the bag at all," Khaled said. If she were to secure the bag, "all she had to do was wait to 4 o'clock tomorrow to drive" and ask her dear friend Khaled to drive. He assuredly told us that because we're in school, we've got it. But he gave us a warning, in the most Khaled-like fashion: "It costs money to drink water…and it's a cold world." I felt that. 

Khaled's self-confidence and endearing bravado was unbelievably contagious. "They call me Billy…Billy's the short name for billionare," he beamed. Success wasn't immediate for Khaled. He had to learn the path to success by himself, and he told us that when he "was growing up they hid the keys." His genuine enthusiasm and enduring perseverance shone through his speech.  His discography reflects these earlier struggles. 2013's "Suffering For Success" was made during a period in Khaled's life where he was overworked, and not seeing the results that he particularly wanted. "I was suffering…I was doing it wrong. I was so much trying to be successful…I ended up being in the hospital. Just to be successful." The following album, 2015's "I Changed A Lot" ("you know how people say don't change? I changed a lot!") reflects a personal growth in the DJ and producer.

Now in 2016, Khaled has achieved new heights of success. And with that comes monetary success. Although it doesn't hurt, monetary success isn't the major key in life for Khaled. Rather, the birth of his son, who was also in attendance at the talk, was the "biggest blessing in his life." It's the love, not the money, that's keeping Khaled going. "The more love you give, the more love you get back that's the key…love is the answer for everything…if it's love, I'm huggin' it because it's hard to find."

It's hard to let go of the pressures of maintaining stellar grades and a social life in college. Nonetheless, DJ Khaled and his chum Arianna Huffington were able to instill a bit of positivity in us. Though students from all sectors of collegiate life—from finance bros to overeager freshmen—were in attendance last night, for a minute we were able to forget any kind of existing divisions and unite in the pursuit of the keys. DJ Khaled has that effect on people.