Baratunde Rafiq Thurston is a technology-loving comedian from
the future who cares enough about the world to engage with it politically.
Yes, he votes. Regularly. With an ancestry that includes a great-grandfather
who taught himself to read, a grandmother who was the first black employee
at the U.S. Supreme Court building and a mother who took over radio stations
in the name of the black liberation struggle, Baratunde has long been taught
to question authority. It helps that he was raised in Washington, D.C. under
crackhead Mayor Marion Barry.
His wide range of experience and activity has earned him an equally wide range of praise. The ACLU of Michigan honored him "for changing the political and social landscape one laugh at a time." He was nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy. The Root named him to its list of 100 emerging black leaders. Fast Company listed him as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business. Then-candidate Barack Obama called him "someone I need to know," and YouTube user "mooospot" referred to him as a "dumbass liberal crackhead welfare sucker."
When he’s not staring at a glowing rectangle, Mr. Thurston, which he goes by near the end of his bio, travels the world, speaking and advising on the subjects of our digital future, media and democracy, and race and politics. In the past two years alone he has spoken at South by Southwest, Google I/O, the Online News Association Conference, Netroots Nation, the Mashable Awards, Web 2.0 Expo, Personal Democracy Forum, Internet Week NY, Social Media Week, TribeCon, the ACLU Annual Dinner (Mass. & Mich.), Surf Summit 14 (Mexico) and Digital Directions (Australia). In May 2011, he spoke at the presidential palace in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) on the role of satire in a healthy democracy.
Baratunde performs standup comedy regularly in New York City, resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over 30 years experience being black. [Bio excerpted from author's website 27 Nov. 2011]
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper (January 31, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
The book’s hashtag is #HowToBe-Black
"Part autobiography, part stand-up routine, part contemporary political analysis, and astute all over, "How to Be Black" might do more to expose and explore the shifting dynamics of race in America than all the Pew data of the past decade. Reading this book made me both laugh and weep with poignant recognition. Baratunde Thurston has given us a hysterical, irreverent exploration of one of America’s most painful and enduring issues. He captures the alchemy of familial narratives, community socialization, and individual volition that makes blackness a complex performance of the self. "How to be Black" is the must read text of the so-called post-racial moment."
- Melissa Harris-Perry, contributing analyst for MSNBC and columnist for THE NATION
"If you don’t buy this book, you’re a racist."
- Baratunde Thurston, author of How To Be Black
Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"? Have you
ever befriended or worked with a black person? Have you ever heard of "black
people"? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for
Raised by a pro-black, pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has over thirty years’ experience in being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with readers of all colors his wisdom and expertise of how to be black. (Harper; January 31, 2012, $23.99)
Combining personal memoir, interviews, irreverent how-to, and resource guides to meet every reader’s blackness needs, this book offers practical advice on everything from "How to Be The Black Friend" to "How to Be The (Next) Black President" to "How to Celebrate Black History Month."
For additional perspective, Baratunde assembled an award-winning Black Panel -- three black women, three black men, and one white man (gotta have a control group. This is science!)-- and asked them such revealing questions as "When Did You First Realize You Were Black?" "How Black Are You?" "Can You Swim?"
Than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture
Click to order via Amazon
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Kingly Companion Media, LLC (November 2003)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.3 inches
A recent survey found that two-thirds of Americans think George W. Bush is doing a great job running the country. "Yeah, well the other one-third read," says vigilante pundit Baratunde Thurston, who is offering that privileged third an opportunity to read his debut book: Better Than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture.
If you are a fan of Al Franken, Michael Moore or just plain common sense, you will love this straight-from-the-hip critique which answers all the important questions. What really goes on inside the home of boy band, O-Town? When did Vice President Dick Cheney actually die? Why will John Ashcroft use pork plantations in the War on Terror? And how do you celebrate Black History Month if you’re not black?
Welcome to the voice of a new generation of political satire. This book is sure to tickle your funny bone and assault your belief system. Read it, before doing so becomes illegal!