Baratunde Thurston, the Emmy-nominated host and New York Times-bestselling author of “How to Be Black,” merges wit and wisdom in his discussions of race, culture and being a good citizen. Thurston has worked for The Onion, produced for “The Daily Show” and currently serves as executive producer and host of “How To Citizen with Baratunde,” named one of Apple’s favorite podcasts of 2020. In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.” Thurston, who has a degree in philosophy from Harvard University, was raised in Washington, D.C., by his mother, a computer programmer, after his father was shot to death during a drug deal gone bad.
“I am here because I was loved and invested in and protected and lucky because I went to the right schools. I'm semifamous, mostly happy, meditate twice a day, and yet I walk around in fear because I know that someone seeing me as a threat can become a threat to my life. And I am tired,” Thurston said in his TED Talk. “I am tired of carrying this invisible burden of other people’s fears. And many of us are. And we shouldn’t have to because we can change this because we can change the action, which changes the story, which changes the system. Systems are just collective stories we all buy into. When we change them, we write a better reality for us all to be a part of. I am asking us to use our power to choose. I am asking us to level up.”