Who is Baratunde?

Hi. I’m Baratunde Thurston. When I’m forced to box myself in with nouns, I say I’m a writer, activist, and comedian. When I’m free to define myself more fully, however, I say I hold space for hard and complex conversations with a blend of humor, wisdom, and compassion. Ain’t that better?

I’ve had lots of experience in media, politics, and tech, including five years as an executive for The Onion, a role as producer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and I even earned an Emmy nomination! For years I ran a company that blended comedy and technology. I wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and delivered a 2019 TED Talk that MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.”

My focus right now is in my role as executive producer and host of the podcast How To Citizen with Baratunde which Apple named one of its favorites of 2020. 

In summary, I use my power with words to synthesize themes of race, culture, politics, and technology. I try to explain where our nation is and where we can take it.

What’s this newsletter about?

So glad you asked. Since 1996, I’ve operated a regular email newsletter of some kind. I send good emails! This newsletter, Recommentunde, is the latest version of that journey.

I think the world can be confusing, depressing, and overwhelming if we let it. What I do in this newsletter is what I do in all my work: Help you make sense of this world and give you the boost you need to help shape it for the better. I generally address themes of race, technology, democracy, and climate, but reserve the right to talk about anything because I’m a free human being! 

Each edition has three basic components:

  1. A brief statement by me on the state of the world. This is like a teeny tiny op-ed where I wax eloquent (or sloppy) about something that’s moved me recently.

  2. Updates on what I’m up to in the world. With the fragmentation and manipulation of social media, you can count on this space to keep you up to date on my gigs, media appearances, events, Twitter fights, and All Things Baratunde. 

  3. Links I’ve clicked for you. These are articles, videos, and other media I’ve consumed and decided to share with you like a mama bird helping feed her young. Pre-chewed media? Yeah, I’m sticking with that metaphor. I share great links. 

I post these editions once per week, and they are available free of charge.

I've read enough. Subscribe now!

What happens if I pay for it?

I’m also interested in deepening my relationship with people who support my work beyond likes and follows. I’ve experimented with Patreon but have decided to simplify my setup and host free and paid subscribers in one place—here! 

Your paid subscription will help me fund creative projects, cover costs from healthcare to software subscriptions, and hire others to build bigger, better versions of the things in my mind. 

If you decide to become a paid subscriber, you’ll also get access to:

  1. Ad-free, early release versions of my podcasts. I’m starting with How To Citizen with Baratunde and We’re Having A Moment. When we’re in season, I’ll post the ad-free version of the podcast one day before the general public release with ads.

  2. Ability to post comments and interact with other paid subscribers. 

  3. Special members-only posts. This will include recordings of the rooms I host in the social audio app, Clubhouse (for example, my conversation with Charles Blow) along with occasional bonus posts from my podcasts, photo albums, and other musings.

And now, here’s a photo of me so very happy after perfectly grilling a Branzino.