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Baratunde Thurston - Futurists & Future Trends - Emmy-Nominated Host, Writer, Activist and ComedianĀ ...

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Digital Storytelling Does Not Have To Be Boring and Sucky, It Can Be Fun!

There is just too much content in the world, and getting peoples attention is, like life, hard. Baratunde Thurston was a political blogger for four years, ran digital strategy for The Onion for five years, authored a New York Times best selling book that continues to find life on Instagram, and lives to engage communities and tell stories in fun and empathetic ways. This talk comes with guaranteed laughs and guaranteed actionable insights based on Baratundes direct experience, the work of his media company Cultivated Wit, and the good work of people with whom he has no connection but for whom he has respect because hes humble like that. Read less
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How To Be Black (And Other Matters of Race and Identity)

Baratunde uses his New York Times best selling book, and the public reaction to it, as a jumping off point to thoughtfully, hilariously, and interactively talk about that most uncomfortable of subjects: race. The live experience of How To Be Black is part biographical journey from the birth of his great grandfather post slavery through the reelection of the nations first black president to the rise of open white supremacy. It is part digital media showcase, looking at how race intersects with the internet. It is part discussion forum as Baratunde fields and facilitates open questions from the audience. Read less
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Baratunde Thurston

Emmy-Nominated Host, Writer, Activist and Comedian

Baratunde is an Emmy-nominated writer, activist and comedian sitting at the intersection of race, technology, and democracy and seamlessly integrates past, present and future. He believes the stories we tell help shape the world in which we live and addresses serious issues with depth, wit and calls to action.

Baratunde had long been taught to question authority and to forge his own path with an ancestry that includes a great-grandfather who taught himself to read, a grandmother who was the first black employee at the U.S. Supreme Court building, a computer-programming mother who took over radio stations in the name of the black liberation struggle, and an older sister who teaches yoga at her donation-based studio in Michigan. He graduated with a Philosophy degree from Harvard, cleaning bathrooms to pay for his education, and has since then worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show and advised the Obama White House. Baratunde currently serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library.

Baratunde has written for Fast Company Magazine and the New York Times as well as for HBO, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC and BBC, and podcasts such as Pivot, WTF and Hello, Monday. He also co-founded Cultivated Wit and the About Race podcast and wrote the New York Times bestseller "How To Be Black".

As a comedian telling jokes professionally across five continents, Baratunde combines humour, wisdom and compassion to create space for challenging and complex conversations. He is the executive producer and host of "How To Citizen with Baratunde", one of Apple's favourite podcasts of 2020 and received the Social Impact Award at the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards for his podcast.

In addition to his work as a futurist comedian, Baratunde is an Emmy-nominated host for hosting Spotify and Mic's podcast series, Clarity. He has also hosted shows and stories on NatGeo and Discovery's Science Channel and helped define the future of media. In 2006, he co-founded Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention has been archived by the Library of Congress. From 2007 to 2012, he helped bring one of America's finest journalistic institutions into the future, serving as Director of Digital for The Onion. He later worked as Supervising Producer for digital expansion at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, as an advisor to the Data & Society Research Institute and a director's fellow at the MIT Media Lab.

Baratunde is a highly sought-after public speaker who can make challenging topics – such as race and democracy – accessible to almost any audience. In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC's Brian Williams called "one of the greatest TED talks of all time". Since then, he has spoken for organisations ranging from Google to criminal justice reform non-profits such as "JustLeadershipUSA". Baratunde is also an activist advocating for justice in our streets and in the technology code that increasingly defines our lives. He has addressed rallies, executive meetings, conferences, and students, bringing insight, humour, and humanity to every stage.

Baratunde is unique in his ability to integrate and synthesise themes of race, culture, politics, and technology to explain where our nation is and where we can take it.

Enquire about Baratunde Thurston to speak at your next event