About Kyra

Bio

2009 TED Fellow.
I empower emerging adults to own their own greatness while I master mine. I am an artist-scholar-teacher and a black feminist thought leader in the field of ethnomususicology. Award-winning author of The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (2007 Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology). Current project is on the games black girls play online from twerking to vlogging on YouTube. kyraocity.wordpress.com

Check out the Nokia documentary featuring my work while a TED Fellow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p352_cQ-Rgw
I design and faciliate workshops on race and racism (as well as other things that separate us). I also developing an idea to create a digital people's history of black music. I have a hobby: iPhone photography. I call them kyracatures (like my name kyra sounding like miniatures). I take close up shots of things out of doors that most people overlook.

Languages

English

TED Conferences

TEDWomen 2010, TED2009

Areas of Expertise

Curation, Communication and Leadership, Digital ethnography, Diversity Consulting, Critical Theory of Culture and Society, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education , YouTube in the Classroom, Twerking, Black Feminist Studies

An idea worth spreading

Racism can actually be a resource for being courageous and compassionate if you agree to be offended and stay connected. Why? Cuz there is only one human race and anything that separates the human race is a form of "racism" -- We are not talking to each other. We are talking to each other's past failures with the human race.

I'm passionate about

Emotional/cognitive justice of girls (13-24) relative to hip-hop in new media. Writing. Studying digital ethnography of YouTube and Twerking. Finding the right new media job!

Talk to me about

Emerging adults (the new late adolescence 18-24) owning their own greatness in higher education; becoming the consumers of their own productivity--http://tiny.cc/5S4IC and http://bit.ly/d1M0

People don't know I'm good at

That I am a kind of modern day urban griot. The sound of my voice, and all the properties of my voice--as speaker, writer, singer, heals. I really love the sound of my voice on a microphone.

My TED story

One of the first TED talks I saw in late 2007 and shared with my students through 2008 was Hans Gosling's TED Talk on poverty. I became obsessed and sponsored a Pangea Film Day Event at Baruch College in May 2008 with 52 people.
In 2008 I wrote of a passionate desire to attend TED. I became one of the first fellows.
That year I showed my students Chris Abani's TED talk on Ubuntu and they were moved to tears. We closed the Fall '08 term with the talk by Majora Carter and the lid came off. We did a creative community service project asking students to donate $ to the OLPC campaign by asking "What can $199US buy in your home country?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSWu6CLVL6Y
Several TEDsters have visited my classroom incl. RuthAnn and Bill Harnisch, Bill Jensen, and Joshua Klein. In the fall of 2009, I performed at TEDxEast in NYC, spoke at TEDx AMS in Amsterdam, and continue to promote talks, tech, and social innovation with my students.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted about 2 months ago
Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard
We need those in Congress to come support her there! She needs to stay where she is. We need people to stay in our communities not leave! Although there is surely many people just like her in communities and they need real politicians to step up and stand for them like she stands for her students! And, yes, she'd be great in a political arena. And she is in one. The teachers and students she leads will mirror that leadership.
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted about 2 months ago
Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard
Dear Principal Cliatt-Wayman, You are my S/hero!! Sometimes we who come from poverty and single-parent homes who have been educated can find it hard to share the journey with compassion and strength to those who have not journeyed where we've been...even if they care. Your talk moved me. It moved me to tears and to joy! It reminded me that all my public college students can benefit from your stand and your principles. More and more recently I have realized the power of structure + love in the classroom. I've slacked on the former. It's a necessary balance. The mental toughness demands discipline and the mental fatigue needs love. Thank you for demonstrating both!! Respectfully, Dr. Kyra Gaunt, Ph.D. Baruch College-CUNY PS If your students want to come visit my classes, DO! Even if by Skype!
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 4 months ago
Boniface Mwangi: The day I stood up alone
We will never find peace and agreement on all things. We must support others progress fully and stand for our change too. Both/And not Either/Or. There are 7.1+ billion people in the world with many different ways of being, living, eating, thinking, etc. Animal rights is not globally connected to all places some of which treat animals with dignity even if they happen to sacrifice their lives for nourishment. Not all communities are the same or are fighting the same battles. I bet Boniface supports yours! I do and I support his, too!
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 4 months ago
Boniface Mwangi: The day I stood up alone
As we here in Black America and in communities of color from the Native rez to urban blighted ghettos to bedroom communities in the suburbs fight police brutality where a significant number but not all police seem to do great harm to the institution that is supposed to "protect and serve" the people not just the corporations and businesses, this video Boniface, speaks to the global pandemic of abuse by authorities that has emotional costs and costs the liberty of being human everywhere. If it's not religious separatism its political or class. The huge wealth disparities worldwide are part of the problem. Speaking up and learning to stand against injustice is harder and harder to do alone. thank God you are part of an army of change makers now!! From one TED fellow to another!! Peace and power in the path to change! Kyra
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 4 months ago
Theaster Gates: How to revive a neighborhood: with imagination, beauty and art
I'm African American. I discovered TED talks on YouTube within the first year they were made public on YouTube. I've bemoaned the fact that there are not enough artists or not enough women or not enough black American people on the TED stage since I attended in 2009 as a TED Fellow. This. Talk. Gives me LIFE again. TED sourced some of my deepest aspirations for change in the world -- the BIG world not just my world. After I attended something happened that had me a become more and more resigned. And after watching this talk I realize something. It's so easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater on so many levels: as a person of an oppressed group coming to TED; as a women, a black woman who doesn't see innovation honored in her own backyard, as a TED fellow whose older than most and not doing tech --until recently. Things take time and if you abandon the hope of what can be as if it's only an uphill battle, you lose. This one TED talk has reminded me of what brought me passionately to TED. That a moment of ideas -- 3 mins, 7 mins, 18 mins -- can alter minds. Many minds and then hearts connected to the power to change things. I'm still here and this reminded me of why. Thank you Mr. Gates!! Thanks Chris and June and Tom at TED!!
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 6 months ago
Ben Ambridge: 10 myths about psychology, debunked
Found this extremely informative as a professor in another field. I particularly appreciate the debunk of the Mozart effect and the Milligram experiment. It was ingenious of the speaker to unpack myths and then distinguish for the audience what psychology actually is as a social science. It might be underwhelming for most but this is one of the better talks I've seen from a cognitive and intellectual standpoint. Great info need not be entertaining for me. It needs to breakthrough the noise of the collective mind to take things at surface values.
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 7 months ago
Aziz Abu Sarah: For more tolerance, we need more ... tourism?
I enjoyed your talk Aziz and the mission of the work you are doing. I wish audiences were able to laugh more with you and bring as much compassion and power as I felt you bring to your cause. I felt them listening to you in the box that oppression places on the "powerless" as if they must prove they are no longer a threat. You are a gift and so happy your talk is up on TED.com!
207925
Kyra Gaunt
Posted 7 months ago
Aziz Abu Sarah: For more tolerance, we need more ... tourism?
Injustice will not reign forever! Thank you for sharing your experience. John Wayne, if that's you're actual name, you could slow down and stop mansplaining when people post what they feel needs to be heard. There was no hatred in his post. Frustration with the media is not colored by race, ethnicity or nation. #agreetobeoffended