Baratunde Thurston is a futurist comedian, writer, and cultural critic who helped re-launch "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah", co-founded "Cultivated Wit and the About Race" podcast, and wrote the New York Times bestseller "How To Be Black". Thurston is a highly sought-after public speaker, television personality, and thought leader who has been part of noteworthy institutions such as Fast Company, TED, the MIT Media Lab, The Onion, and the gentrification of Brooklyn, New York.
His creative and inquisitive mind, forged by his mother’s lessons and polished by a philosophy degree from Harvard, have found expression in the pages of Fast Company, the screens of HBO, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, the sound waves of NPR and podcasts, including "Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race", which he co-founded. He has hosted shows and stories on NatGeo, Discovery's Science Channel, Yahoo, AOL, YouTube, and Pivot TV. In 2016 he hosted a special three-part PBS series of TED Talks and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for the Spotify/Mic series, "Clarify".
Far from simply appearing in media, Baratunde is also helping define its future. 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"Jack & Jill Politics" , a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention has been archived by the Library of Congress.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" and Supervising Producer for digital expansion at "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah".
In 2012, he co-founded "Cultivated Wit", a comedic digital company on a quest to merge comedy and technology into a new genre of creative expression, with Brian Janosch and Craig Cannon. The company produces Comedy Hack Day during which developers and comedians collaborate to make intentionally funny tech projects that humanize technology while offering social commentary on the world at large.
Thurston was nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy. The Root named him to its list of 100 most influential African Americans, and Fast Company listed him as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business.
He has advised the Obama White House and serves on the National Board of BUILD, an organization that uses entrepreneurship-based experiential learning to propel underserved youth through high school on to college and career success. He also serves as a mayoral appointee to the Brooklyn Public Library board of trustees.
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