The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Baratunde Thurston

Share on Social Media

Information about Baratunde Thurston

Profile image of Baratunde Thurston

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Comedian
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Bacon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer Into Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Goa, India
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/11/1977
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Comedian
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Bacon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer Into Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Goa, India
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/11/1977
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Baratunde Thurston is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Comedian and writer Baratunde Rafiq Thurston was born on September 11, 1977 in Washington, D.C. Thurston graduated from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in 1995, and received his A.B. degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1999.

From 1999 to 2003, Thurston worked as an associate for Cambridge Strategic Management Group and the Management Network Group. He then worked as a contract senior consultant for Altman Vilandrie & Company, and as a contract producer and advisor for Untravel Media. In 2006, Thurston co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. From 2007 to 2012, he served as digital director for the satirical news outlet, The Onion. In the summer of 2012, Thurston co-founded the comedy/technology startup, Cultivated Wit, where he serves as CEO. He also writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company, and has contributed to the Huffington Post and the Weekly Dig. In addition, he is a semi-regular panelist on the podcast This Week in Tech, and hosted the Discovery Science show Popular Science's Future Of in 2009 and 2010. He performs standup comedy in New York City and across the United States, as well as delivers keynotes at South by Southwest, Personal Democracy Forum, and the Guardian Changing Media Summit. In May 2011, Thurston spoke at the presidential palace in Tbilisi, Georgia on the role of satire in a healthy democracy, and he has advised The White House on digital strategy and public engagement. In January of 2012, Thurston joined the MIT Media Lab as a director's fellow. He has been featured on CNN, NPR, BBC, and C-SPAN, as well as in the New York Times and Boston Globe.

Thurston has authored four books: Better than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture (2004); Keep Jerry Falwell Away from My Oreo Cookies (2005); Thank You Congressional Pages (For Being So Damn Sexy!) (2006); and the New York Times best-seller, How To Be Black (2012).

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan honored Thurston “for changing the political and social landscape one laugh at a time.” He was also nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy. The Root added 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.

Thurston lives in New York, New York.

Baratunde Thurston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 7, 2014.

See how Baratunde Thurston is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Baratunde Thurston's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his maternal grandmother and his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurston describes the different complexions in his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother's political activism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his parents' relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurston describes the change in his mother between his sister's childhood and his own, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Baratunde Thurston describes the change in his mother between his sister's childhood and his own, pt.2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about playing music as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurtson describes his childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about moving to Takoma Park, Maryland due to the crack epidemic in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about his grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about Marion Barry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about Marion Barry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurtson remembers his favorite teachers from Bancroft Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about his childhood activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Baratunde Thurston talks about Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston describes his experience at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his involvement in Ankobia while a student at Sidwell Friends School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his extracurricular development at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurston describes writing a school paper about U.S. propaganda
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurston talks about racial politics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurston talks about the self-segregation of youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurston remembers going to Senegal as a student at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurston talks about attending the Million Man March in 1995
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his favorite teachers at Sidwell Friends School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurston talks about HistoryMaker Rickey Payton, Sr.