A member of the inaugural TED Fellows class, Dr. Kyra Gaunt is an ethnomusicologist, singer-songwriter, and a social media researcher on faculty at University at Albany, SUNY.

Why you should listen

Kyra Gaunt's book, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop, published by NYU Press, won of the 2007 Alan Merriam Book Prize awarded by The Society for Ethnomusicology, which contributed to the emergence of black girlhood studies and hip-hop feminism. It also inspired a work by fellow TED Fellow Camille A. Brown, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, which was nominated for a 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production.

Gaunt's articles have appeared in Musical Quarterly, The Journal for Popular Music Studies and Parcours anthropologiques, and she has contributed chapters to I Was Born to Use Mics: Listening to Nas’ Illmatic and The Hip-hop & Obama Reader, among other publications.  

Gaunt's scholarship has been funded by The Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a nationally- and internationally-recognized speaker. She also is a certified expert witness in federal and state cases on the unintended consequences of social media. She also continues to perform and record as a classically-trained, jazz vocalist and R&B singer-songwriter. Her original compositions are available on the CD Be the True Revolution available on iTunes and CDBaby.

Kyra Gaunt’s TED talk

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