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Baratunde Thurston


Comedian, Author, Entrepreneur

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Baratunde Thurston


Comedian, Author, Entrepreneur

Baratunde, In Brief.

Baratunde Thurston is the CEO, co-founder, and hashtagger-in-chief of Cultivated Wit. He wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and served for five years as director of digital for the satirical news outlet, The Onion. When he’s not delivering keynote talks at gatherings such as SXSW Interactive, the Tribeca Film Festival, and Personal Democracy Forum, he writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company and contributes to the MIT Media Lab as a director’s fellow.

He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics, has advised the Obama White House, has more than 10 years experience in standup comedy, and more than 30 years experience being black. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Cultivated Wit

The comedy-infused storytelling and tech product development company Baratunde heads.

Fast Company

Where Baratunde writes a monthly column and sometimes (ok, once) the cover.

Speaking

Baratunde emcees, moderates, keynotes, and informally gives talking tos. Book him.

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How To Be Black


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How To Be Black


"If you don't buy this book, you're a racist." - Science. 

In February 2012, How To Be Black became Baratunde's first book published by someone not named Baratunde. Released by Harper in digital, audio, and print formats, the book became a New York Times best-seller. NPR's Terry Gross talked with Baratunde about the book, recorded that conversation, and distributed it to the world.

The book is a comedic memoir, chronicling Baratunde's coming-of-blackness from his early childhood raised by an Afrocentric single mother in Washington, D.C. through his education at The Sidwell Friends School and Harvard and into his first job making PowerPoint presentations in a field known as "consulting."  

The biographical story is periodically punctuated by satirical "lessons learned" chapters such as "How To Be The Black Friend," "How To Speak For All Black People," and "How To Be The (Next) Black President." Finally, the book includes interviews with a panel of black experts, which is to say, black people (plus one white Canadian male as a scientific control group). 

The book is written for anyone who can read, possesses intelligence, loves to laugh, and has ever felt a distance between who they know themselves to be and what the world expects.