I care about the diversity of the mindset of the people creating our future, and the windows through which we see it, and the tools we use to build it.
Remember something about attention. Yes, it’s possible to buy, grab, or even steal it. But it’s far better to earn it.
Mostly I try to be the best example of me that I can be.
“Black culture” is ready for whatever. I sense some momentum and excitement around black artists (especially in comedy, which is where most of my own art resides), really pushing the bounds of what has generally been expected as black. I don’t think it’s a revolution so much as an exposure of what has always been there, and now that the production and distribution means are more accessible, people can more easily find each other.
There are so many ways to be and to be black at the same time, but we’re finally seeing that full range expressed much more widely than before.
I don’t know that I’m post-anything. I’d like to think maybe I’m post-bullshit.
I work in comedy, journalism, media, and technology, many of which don’t have a lot of black faces in visible positions. I walk through Brooklyn with a surfboard. It’s fun to challenge and expand people’s expectations.
College is a safe space where it can be hard to truly fail. The institution is rooting for you because your failure makes them look bad, too. New York City has no such mandate. I’ve had to hone and sharpen and refine my work here at a pace which may not have happened in other cities.
Knowing that “me” is inextricably linked to blackness, [I try to enjoy] the process of expanding beyond the expected boundaries set by existing culture, norms and media.
As I’ve submerged myself in news of the revolutions sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, I wanted desperately to feel part of what was going on. And then it hit me: This is what white people were doing to me after Obama was elected!
New York has been the best gift, in that the city pushes me to so many next levels.
My family life and early political life – being exposed to the news constantly, being enrolled in an Afrocentric education program, and doing the extracurriculars I did – played a huge role in me finding my path.
Okay, well, if motion is the constant, how can I remain in motion?
As far as hip-hop is concerned, I’m no expert and rarely think consciously about how I “represent” hip-hop.
You can call me namastunde or surfatunde. Either works.
I am not a yogi yet, but I aspire to have more balance in my life.
By the time I got to Harvard, I feel like I knew who I was, and my job there was to throw as much against the wall as possible, to see what would stick.
When I look at what I’m doing today, I see [the] roots in my college life. I was the online editor of my college paper and an active member of the Harvard Computer Society. I abandoned a summer internship at the Washington Post due to injury and instead did theatre. I found my comedic voice through satirical newsletters in college.
There’s certainly a lot of noise in the hip-hop world now [that] I don’t pay active attention to, but to the extent that I represent some flavor of what’s happening in hip-hop – it’s subconscious.
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