Baratunde Thurston Biography

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and wrote the New York Times bestseller "How To Be Black." He’s the executive producer and host of two podcasts: "How To Citizen with Baratunde" and "We’re Having A Moment" which CNET called “the most important podcast of 2020.” He’s also the creator and host of the weekly pandemic show, "Live On Lockdown." In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.” Right now, the writer, activist and comedian is using his powerful voice to help people understand this revolutionary moment with his unique blend of insight, humor, and empathy.

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, a computer-programming mother who took over radio stations in the name of the black liberation struggle, and an older sister who teaches yoga at her donation-based studio in Lansing, Michigan, Thurston has long been taught to question authority and forge his own path. It helps that he was raised in Washington, D.C. under crackhead Mayor Marion Barry.

Thurston’s mind, forged by his mother’s lessons and polished by a philosophy degree from Harvard, has found expression in the pages of Fast Company and the New York Times, the screens of HBO, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, the sound waves of NPR and podcasts such as Pivot, WTF, and Hello, Monday.

He has hosted shows and stories on NatGeo and Discovery’s Science Channel and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for hosting the Spotify/Mic series, "Clarify." Thurston is also an in-demand public speaker and live events host for organizations ranging from Google to criminal justice reform non-profits such as JustLeadershipUSA.

Far from simply appearing in media, Thurston has also helped define its future. In 2006 he co-founded Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention has been archived by the Library of Congress. From 2007 to 2012, he helped bring one of America’s finest journalistic institutions into the future, serving as Director of Digital for The Onion then did something similar as Supervising Producer for digital expansion at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has served as an advisor to the Data & Society Research Institute and a director’s fellow at the MIT Media Lab.

Thurston is a rare leader who sits at the intersection of race, technology, and democracy and seamlessly integrates past, present and future. Thurston serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library.

Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Baratunde Thurston and other top speakers and celebrities.

Baratunde Thurston Videos

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston
How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston
What Happens When Neighborhoods Gentrify? | The Business of Life
What Happens When Neighborhoods Gentrify? | The Business of Life
Baratunde Thurston Describes the Mood in America | Unspun with Matt Forde
Baratunde Thurston Describes the Mood in America | Unspun with Matt Forde

How to book Baratunde Thurston?

Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Baratunde Thurston for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Baratunde Thurston, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Baratunde Thurston or any other celebrity of your choice.

How much does it cost to book Baratunde Thurston?

Booking fees for Baratunde Thurston, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Baratunde Thurston, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.

Who is the agent for Baratunde Thurston?

All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Baratunde Thurston for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Baratunde Thurston for your next private or corporate function.

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Baratunde Thurston is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics including Marketing, Technology and Authors. The estimated speaking fee range to book Baratunde Thurston for live events is $50,000 - $100,000, and for virtual events $20,000 - $30,000. Baratunde Thurston generally travels from Brooklyn, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Daymond John, Hill Harper and Bakari Sellers. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Baratunde Thurston for an upcoming event.

Baratunde Thurston Videos

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston
How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time | Baratunde Thurston
What Happens When Neighborhoods Gentrify? | The Business of Life
What Happens When Neighborhoods Gentrify? | The Business of Life
Baratunde Thurston Describes the Mood in America | Unspun with Matt Forde
Baratunde Thurston Describes the Mood in America | Unspun with Matt Forde
Hacking comedy | Baratunde Thurston | TEDxKC
Hacking comedy | Baratunde Thurston | TEDxKC
How to Be Black | Baratunde Thurston | Talks at Google
How to Be Black | Baratunde Thurston | Talks at Google

Baratunde Thurston Reviews

  • The Predictive Index - Jun 01 2021

Baratunde Thurston Speaking Topics

  • Digital Future & Storytelling

  • The Role of Satire / Comedy in Politics

    Generally, and democracy specifically. He is also regularly invited to speak on The Future of News / Media and to discuss race, politics, comedy/satire and the media.

  • Correspondent From The Future

    In this technology and future-oriented talk, Baratunde goes behind the scenes of his television show as well as his past digital strategy work at The Onion and other companies to give a deeper analysis of the issues raised in his exploration of the future. From self-driving cars to creepy Japanese robots to a real, functioning orgasmatron, Baratunde will share anecdotes, images and a thoughtful, provocative and humorous analysis of what the future might hold. Ideal for audiences with an interest in: technology, science, the future, television, TV production, media

  • Creative Digital Strategy That Works

    Comedian and Former Onion Director of Digital Baratunde Thurston pushes the envelope on the latest web platforms. Whether personifying The Swine Flu on Twitter, treating a Foursquare mayor battle as legitimate politics or live-blogging his experience clearing an exit ramp on Lakeshore Drive during Chicago's epic blizzard of 2011, he's found ways to do more than post photos and beg for followers. Far beyond delivering comedy and shock value, Baratunde has also delivered results and proven an ability to engage communities. Tune in for an entertaining and insightful journey that explores the limits of your favorite digital platforms and gets at the very heart of what it is to be human. Ideal for audiences with an interest in: marketing, social media, digital strategy, the future of media, future of news

Baratunde Thurston News

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