Daphne Barak, the notable Israeli personality, made her mark by finding her way into some of the biggest bold-faced names in world. From royalty and world leaders to celebrities and dictators, Barak has been at the forefront of some of the most poignant times and places in history.
Amusingly, to borrow a term from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, Barak sees dead people. She has had the privilege of interviewing some of the most elusive people, and among them, many who had died within a short time of their speaking. That makes for a wealth of footage that Barak has brilliantly chosen to monetize – but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
Barak was with Robert Mugabe, the former dictator of Zimbabwe. As she tells it, the country was poor and this was the Marie Antionette “Let them eat cake” moment for Mugabe. She asked him and he granted a unique sit-down interview. Mugabe was so removed from the people, she reflected, that when she came to see him the grounds of his palace were well pristine with beautiful trees, flowers and foliage, freshly watered when water was scarce. He was wearing new expensive boots and she commented to him, “you look good for your age,” and he replied, “well. I am eating better, more lean meats and fish, and that’s why I look so good.” All that while the country was starving, homeless and tattered.
Then there was Libyan’s leader Muammar Gaddafi who pretended he didn’t speak English. When she asked him through his interpreter whether he would resign, his interpreter was fearful and didn’t want to present the question; it was awkward for a moment. Then, Gaddafi just replied in English and said “NO”.
Not only did she sit with Whitney Houston not so long before she died, Barak also had the honor of talking with Bobbi Kristina Brown, Houston’s daughter, who swore that she was not addicted and she “promised that she wasn’t using” in an interview.
She talked with Michael Jackson too. While Daphne was having family dinner after promising her brother that she would not take any calls, being a workaholic. Then, Michael Jackson called and her brother would not let her answer the phone. She had to sheepishly answer the call and tell Jackson she could not speak at the moment.
That brings us to her series of Amy Winehouse interviews, when she and her partner and co-producer Erbil Gunasti spent six months with Amy Winehouse and her family members in the last three years of the superstar’s life. It was then that she accumulated this one of a kind pool of more than 40 hours worth of video, photos and notes in the three years before Winehouse died.
Now, Daphne Barak is memorializing her life’s work of interviews in the form of these new artistic collectibles called Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT). The entrepreneur Barak and Gunasti are now digitizing their library of more than 350 mostly Betamax videos and editing distinctive clips of various interviews to market as NFTs for fans to invest and collect. They began the collection with tributes to Amy Winehouse.
If that isn’t enough, Barak and Gunasti just inked a deal with Halcyon Studios to make a movie, highlighting trials and tribulations of Amy Winehouse. The option is based on an article “The Diary of My Time with Amy Winehouse,” that was published in the Sunday Times of the UK in 2009 which Barak coined: “Saving Amy.”
Based on that, she then wrote a best-selling book called: “Saving Amy” in 2010, with more experiences from her time with the Winehouse family. For the NFTs and the new film product, much of the material are expected to be never before seen footage. Daphne Barak will be an Executive Producer, and Erbil Gunasti will be an Associate Producer for the movie.
The next step on this road will be taking more footage from her vast interview library, including more footage of Winehouse, her conversations with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and many more, into collectible NFTs.
Did I mention that she is also using her talent, abilities and charm on a new NFT aimed at highlighting the Republican contenders for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s contested seat? They are suggesting that new NFT technology will do for the GOP candidates what public leaders have done with text messages and Twitter over the years.
Her experience in politics is evident as she and Gunasti published a book recently called “Struggling for One America: Trump v. Hollywood and the Two White Houses”, which offers an in-depth analysis as to how America was torn apart and how we can heal the country. The book features conversations with celebrities such as Rosanne Barr, Dean Cain, John Voight, Eric Roberts, Scott Baio and Mamma Sarah Obama. Each personality delves into their perspective on how America became so divided and what is needed to bridge the divide.
Well, I guess in her spare time, Barak has been meeting the recall candidates and has created a special NFT she calls The Dark Horse, with a focus on the lead GOP candidate, talk show host Larry Elder, with whom Barak and Gunasti are close.
Regardless of who wins this recall race, Barak is likely to be the big winner of the year.