|Born||Baratunde Rafiq Thurston
September 11, 1977
Washington, D.C., USA
Baratunde Rafiq Thurston (//; born September 11, 1977) is a writer, comedian, and entrepreneur mixing cutting-edge technology with old-fashioned social justice. Thurston co-founded the black political blog Jack and Jill Politics, whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention was archived in the Library Of Congress, and was director of digital for The Onion. In 2012, his book How to be Black became a New York Times bestseller. Part memoir, part satirical self-help guide, HtbB challenges a country that elected its first black president to think more expansively about race.
One of his latest ventures is Cultivated Wit, a marketing company with a strong conscience and a great sense of humor. He’s often seen in print, online, and on flat screens at the same damn time making room for the marginalized, the dispossessed, and that good, good stuff that goes down smooth.
Early life and education
Thurston was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up on Newton Street in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington. His father was killed when he was young and his mother worked in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He has an older sister. In junior high, his mother and he moved to a suburban black neighborhood in Maryland. Thurston was educated at the Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy. He shares the distinction of being the third black man ever on Irish television, following Nelson Mandela and Paul McGrath. Baratunde did not unite South Africa and is not one of the greatest International football players of all time.
Thurston is the author of three self-published 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)
Thurston was the Director of Digital at The Onion, until May 2012, is an active tweeter, and co-founded the black political blog JackAndJillPolitics.com. The name of the blog builds on the name of the African American children's social organization, Jack and Jill of America.
His fourth book, entitled How to Be Black (HarperCollins ISBN 978-0-06-200321-8) was released on February 1, 2012, the first day of Black History Month, incorporates "satirical self-help" along with personal memoir, subjects from gardening to computers, and is "a practical guidebook for anyone looking to befriend or work with a black person, become the next black president or challenge anyone who says they speak for all black people". Baratunde enjoys posting pictures of white people reading How to Be Black to social media sites like Twitter.
- "Baratunde Thurston Biography". MIT Media Lab. MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Election 2008 Web Archive". Library of Congress Web Archives. Library of Congress. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "NY Times Bestsellers February 19, 2012". NY Times. NY Times. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- ""How to be Black" Amazon page". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Baratunde Thurston Biography". The HistoryMakers. The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- How to Be Black, Thurston, Baratunde Page 36
- "Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'", interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, February 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "Girl on Guy Podcast (episode 42)".
- "PoliticsTV entry covering the 2006 YearlyKos". July 14, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Jeff Zeleny (August 5, 2007). "Democratic Candidates Spar at 'Netroots' Forum". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- "Huffington Post blog posts by Thurston". Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- "Search for 'Baratunde Thurston' on Weekly Dig". Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- "Baratunde Thurston: Correspondent of the Future". Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- "Staff Listing of The Onion". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
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