theGrio’s 100: Baratunde Thurston, tech insider who leads the new school

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Who is Baratunde Thurston?

Baratunde Thurston is a comedian and the author behind the New York Times best-seller, How To Be Black. He is the founder of Cultivated Wit, a comedy and technology site that tells stories in engaging ways. Aside from being an author, Thurston has been frequently featured as a television on-air guest discussing race, technology and comedy. He is a frequent guest on MSNBC, recently appearing on Chris Hayes’ show to discuss infrastructure and New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closing debacle.  His writings, pointing out the right and wrong things about Twitter, for instance, makes him a bonafide technology humorist.

Why is Baratunde Thurston in theGrio’s 100?

Thurston’s book How To Be Black, provides readers off all stripes, insight into the mindset of the  modern day African American without being overbearing and offensive. His website, Cultivated Wit, is described as a fusion of comedy and technology that brings forth good ideas.

The former director for digital at the satirical news site The Onion, believes that his success is supported by forward thinking and a genuine sincerity in his communications with people. When he’s not delivering keynote talks at gatherings such as SXSW Interactive, LeWeb, and Personal Democracy Forum, he writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company and contributes to the MIT Media Lab as a director’s fellow. On his website, Thurston is described as “A technology-loving comedian from the future who cares enough about the world to engage with it politically.”

What’s next for Thurston?

In 2014, Thurston plans to travel the world, speaking and advising on our digital future and storytelling, satire and democracy, and race and politics.Though African-Americans are just beginning to thrive into the tech field, Thurston continues to be a trailblazer in the growing culture surroung the field assuring there is an African American voice to be heard. When asked how someone can follow in his footsteps, Thurston offers simple advice: “Be yourself. Relentlessly.”