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Baratunde Thurston

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Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 7:40am
Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 7:35am
Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 7:35am
Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 7:35am
Sunday, July 30, 2017 - 7:35am

Last night I was a guest on Viewpoint, Eliot Spitzer's Current TV show. We talked about the Republican propaganda bubble and how it failed to serve the real information needs of conservative voters. I also pimped my book because, well because. 

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

I do a lot of talking in my work, and it's a privilege to get to mouth off for a living. I don't always post the video from these events because it's sometimes repetitive and I think yall might get sick of me posting a bunch of look-at-me content. However, speaking at the 2012 Chicago Ideas Week event was a special occasion.

First, I got to share the stage during a time block devoted to Identity. My fellow speakers were Hanna Rosin, LZ Granderson, James Fallows, Brook Magnanti, and Eric Daigh. They were all amazing and smart and interesting. I'm not just saying that. 

Second, I got to perform in the Goodman Theatre. It's one of the most beautiful rooms I've ever worked, and from a strictly performance standpoint, I was thrilled to be there. 

Last, here are my words, recorded and replayable through this magic technological advancement known as embedded video.

CIW: Identity: Baratunde Thurston from Chicago Ideas Week on Vimeo.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am



Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

I can't wait to see this. It's playing at the Hollywood Black Film Festival Sat Oct 29 at 630pm. Also, they have a Kickstarter!

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Danielle Belton and I were on the same panel at the National Association of Black Journalists conference in Philly last week. I got inspired and rattled off this little jingle for her site, The Black Snob, based on "Bad Boys." Keep up the great work, Danielle!

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Udpate: I used to have a slideshow of all the tweets embedded here, but Storify doesn't work well with Vine, and the Marco Rubio gulp was running on loop forever and ever. It was scaring and scarring the children. I removed it. You can see my twitter recap here on Storify

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

"How To Be Black" in an actual bookstore!

Today my book, HOW TO BE BLACK is released, and I need your help.

This is my first book published by someone not-me (Harper Collins). It's like giving birth to a child except I don't have to start a college fund or move my home to find the best school district. In all other ways, however, the commitment is the same, and I'm writing to ask for your help in making this comedic memoir, satirical how-to and provocative conversation-starter a best-seller. 

Remember that scene in The Godfather where the godfather tells the funeral home dude, "someday I may ask you for a favor?" Well, this is that day. I'm the godfather. You're the funeral home operator. Rival gangs have ambushed my book at a toll booth, and I'm asking you for a favor. 

Here's how you can help.


Right now. Just do it. If you've already got a copy, buy one for someone else! It's available in all formats including hardcover at your local bookstore, all digital outlets like Kindle, Nook, iBooks plus audio! I did the voiceover myself. Visit Plus if you've ever enjoyed my free blogging, free standup, free TV appearances or free, awesome company, this is how you can repay me.


If you have access to a large group of people: company, school, criminal concern, buy 50 or 100 or more. Bulk orders are available at 800 CEO Read. Bulk discounts! Contact us about customization of large orders. 


Preferably with five stars. Do this as soon as possible. Do it now. People on Amazon do what other people on Amazon tell them. Be a leader. 


We’ve assembled a few useful messages in this blog post which includes a trailer, quotable lines from the book and endorsements from people like comedian Patton Oswalt and professor/TV host Melissa Harris-Perry. Please mention the book right now in your blogs, email newsletters and 3D social media content pipe-stream-nets. 

On twitter, reference the book with the hashtag #HowToBeblack and mention @baratunde. On Facebook, like the book at, and tag it and me ( in your status updates. On Tumblr, like our blog at We'll be re-blogging items tagged "how to be black," so post your thoughts on your own blogs with that tag for a shot at tumblr greatness


This book isn't some final statement on race and identity. It's the continuation of a conversation, and I want you to join it. The book is ultimately about "how to be," and we've built a platform to get people talking about blackness and identity in general. Starting with each day during Black History Month, we’ll focus on one question at, Go there, and submit your thoughts. 


You all know someone that NEEDS this book, maybe a teacher or college student group, maybe a company executive, maybe a political office-holder or artist. Even if the book isn’t for you, you probably know a few for whom it is perfect and necessary. Please consider not just forwarding this post (which I assume you've already done because you're a good person) but actively introducing us to this person. Basically, I need you to introduce me to Halle Berry. I should have just said that.


This project is a big deal. The book is incredibly personal. It represents years of work and passion and blood (some people don't know how to cooperate). If other ideas for how to help occur to you, let me know. But also know that I'd appreciate you just sending positive thoughts. 

Oh, and I'll be on permanent book tour for now on. Check the schedule at Stop by, say hi, and get a book signed!

Sincerely, thank you.

Baratunde Thurston


Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Last spring, I went surfing for the first time in my life, and it was under ideal circumstances. I was speaking at Surf Summit 14 in Cabo, Mexico and got my first lessons with Roxy, the female line from Quiksilver also dedicated to getting more girls and women into surfing. So yeah, my first surfing lesson was me and a bunch of beautiful women. Except for the urchins it was ideal circumstances.

I found the video above from Robert Scoble on my Google+, and he's all excited about the GoPro camera. I am too after seeing this South African antelope engage in an entirely different definition of "mountain biking" (for antelope, mountain biking means taking out mountain bikers). 

But this snippet of surfing footage makes me most excited about returning to a sport I love after just one shot. Plus, it will be great when I can catch air like that and pause time like the Matrix and all. 

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Last weekend I biked down to Coney Island to partake of the delicious crustaceans at Clemente's Maryland Crab House in Sheepshead Bay. It's an 11-mile journey and completely worth it. One my way, racing down Ocean Ave, I spotted another pink bike. The woman who owned it, Noha, was sitting on a bench and screamed, "Hey, we have the same bike!" I slammed on the breaks and walked back to her. 

Sure enough, we both have pink Schwinn Cruisers named Roxie. We couldn't believe it. I've seen other pink bikes and even cruisers but never another Roxie. Mine was given to me by my Dutch friend and superstar Kirsten Van Den Hul. We're thinking of starting a Roxie biking club. Seems like the Brooklyn thing to do, right? 

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

I'm in great company! Congrats to all the other list-makers. Lists are the last word of truth in comedy and all things!

Tiffany Haddish Hannibal Buress Wyatt Cenac Key and Peele Issa Rae Franchesca Leigh Ramsey Donald Glover W. Kamau Bell Kevin Hart


Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Two years ago, YouTube's News & Politics channel sponsored a program encouraging people to read passages from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. I chose a passage from his "Beyond Vietnam" speech on budget/defense priorities and "spiritual death" and recorded the video at a parking lot in Pittsburgh, PA.

In the same year, Vanity Fair commissioned me to write this piece. It ranks high among the work I'm most proud of across my entire life: What Would MLK Make Of Twitter? 

At this time every year, commentators across the United States engage in an exercise I’ll call Hypothetical King, in which we try to imagine what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say about the war in Afghanistan, the bank bailouts, or Mo’Nique winning best supporting actress for Precious at the Golden Globes. We extrapolate from his words and deeds and hope we’re right but can never be sure.

I’d like to engage in an exercise that’s almost the reverse of that. Instead of imagining Hypothetical King in 2010, I’m imagining a world in which today’s tools exist in King’s day. Specifically, I want to know what Dr. King would make of Twitter, the insistent social-media service that asks its users to describe “What’s happening?” in 140 characters or less.


Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Sentient City Survival Kit - Quick Start Guide from mark shepard on Vimeo.

A users guide to the Sentient City Survival Kit. I'm at the Idea Festival in Louisville, KY, and this just blew my mind. It's a pro civili liberties, comedic, artistic response to our likely super surveilled and optimized future urban spaces. 

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

It's my first NABJ, and it's so far so good. I had no idea there were so many black journalists! And by and large, they're amazingly attractive. Like, really. Everyone here looks good. 

I'm on a panel today on the subject of politics and race. Hopefully I can think of something to say though I'm still figuring out the get paid part, but who isn't? 


Room 121C // 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. 

When President Obama had to produce his birth certificate for Donald Trump, political comedians hired themselves to trump, Trump. Whether serious or through satire, delivering political news is an art. This entrepreneurial panel shares how to use your journalistic skills to create a political enterprise for capital gain.

  • Moderator: Roland Martin, CNN and TV One 
  • Baratunde Thurston, The Onion and 
  • Danielle Belton, The BlackSnob 
  • Toure X, Author of "Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? A Look At What It Means To Be Black Now.”
  • Melissa Harris-Perry, Professor, Tulane University



Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
I have left the Internet. I'm on vacation. As part of my rest, I'm taking a break from the social Internet. That means no social media updates, responses, checkins, likes, taps, pokes, noogies, tickles, or head locks.  I'm going to practice looking people in the eye and not checking my email or launching businesses or resolving geo-political stalemates (SORRY ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND CYPRUS AND NEWARK!) If you're a friend and want to hang out, give me a call or text. If you are a creditor, suckit. If you think your demand for my attention qualifies as urgent or an emergency, you can petition my chief of staff, Julia Lynton Boelte, who will used her advanced algorithms and spices to determine if you are correct. She's reachable at Otherwise, I'll see you in 2013 after January 7th, provided we haven't destroyed the Earth by then.  If you are receiving this message, you are the revolution. Trust no one. Peanut butter jelly time. Clear eyes, full hearts… - Baratunde (somewhere).


For some additional context to the going offline thing, check out danah boyd and Brian Fitzpatrick.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

It's from an ESPN documentary about Jordan Burnham, a star high school student and athlete who suffered from depression and tried to take his own life.

In 2010 my friend Dr. Greg Feldman took his own life. It was an absolute shock to most of us. Greg was high achieving, high functioning, loving, personable and awesome. He also worked in the high performance, high pressure world of surgery. We missed the signs. He hid the signs. Now he's gone, and we've lost a friend, brother, son. You who've never met him have lost the potential for his goodness to enter your life. But it doesn't have to be an absolute loss. Take the time to watch this video. You may not suffer from depression or suicidal tendencies, but you may know and love someone who has, is or will. Increase your awareness

Thank you.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

These are the thoughts I woke up with this morning following the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last night. I'd love to post a transcript here but don't have the time to transcribe it. Here's my basic argument

  • "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not good enough in applying the death row. we should demand "beyond ANY doubt"
  • we have proof that innocent people have been killed on death row and it's a discriminatory institution
  • we know that there was massive doubt in troy davis's case
  • we have the power to prevent the death of an innocent and when done in our names (by the state) we have the obligation to prevent these murders. unlike other innocent deaths (accidents, single murders by single actors, disease) we really can prevent the collective ones
  • there is no justice in accounting for the life of an innocent (police officer machphail) with the life of another innocent
  • we have not come as far as we'd like to believe as a civilization when we act out the roman coliseum thousands of years later. when will our moral progress keep pace with our iphone progress?

and other associated thoughts

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.