Baratunde Thurston

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Baratunde Thurston
Thurston in 2012
Baratunde Rafiq Thurston

(1977-09-11) September 11, 1977 (age 46)
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Occupation(s)Comedian, author Edit this at Wikidata

Baratunde Rafiq Thurston (/ˌbærəˈtnd/; born September 11, 1977) is an American writer, comedian, and commentator. Thurston co-founded the black political blog Jack and Jill Politics,[1] whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention was archived in the Library of Congress,[2] and was director of digital for The Onion.[1] In 2012, his book How to Be Black became a New York Times bestseller.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Thurston was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up at the intersection of 14th and Newton Streets 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.[4] 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.[5][6]


As part of Laughing Liberally, Thurston emceed the YearlyKos convention in 2006[7] and also appeared in 2007.[8]

Thurston has contributed to HuffPost[9] and the Weekly Dig.[10] More recently, Thurston has become a semi-regular panelist on the podcast This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte.

Thurston began hosting the Popular Science's Future Of television show on the Science Channel in August 2009.[11]

Thurston was the Director of Digital at The Onion,[12] until May 2012, and co-founded the black political blog The name of the blog builds on the name of the African American children's social organization, Jack and Jill of America.[5]

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, and is described as incorporating "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."[5]

On August 27, 2015, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah announced that Thurston had been named supervising producer, overseeing original digital content.[13]

On June 23, 2020, Thurston announced his podcast, We're Having A Moment.[14]

He began hosting a six-part travelogue series on PBS called America Outdoors in July 2022.[15]


  • 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)
  • How to Be Black (2012)


  1. ^ a b "Baratunde Thurston Biography". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "Election 2008 Web Archive". Library of Congress Web Archives. Library of Congress. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "NY Times Bestsellers February 19, 2012". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ How to Be Black, Thurston, Baratunde Page 36
  5. ^ a b c "Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'", interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "Girl on Guy Podcast (episode 42)". Archived from the original on June 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "PoliticsTV entry covering the 2006 YearlyKos". July 14, 2006. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Jeff Zeleny (August 5, 2007). "Democratic Candidates Spar at 'Netroots' Forum". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  9. ^ "Huffington Post blog posts by Thurston". HuffPost. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  10. ^ "Search for 'Baratunde Thurston' on Weekly Dig". Retrieved April 7, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Baratunde Thurston: Correspondent of the Future". August 5, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  12. ^ "Staff Listing of The Onion". The Onion. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  13. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (August 27, 2015). "'The Daily Show' Gets Ready to Go Viral". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  14. ^ "We're Having A Moment". Baratunde. June 25, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  15. ^ "America Outdoors". PBS. Retrieved July 11, 2022.

External links[edit]