I’m a TED Fellow

Dear Afroculinaria.com Community,

It is with GREAT pleasure that I announce that I have been selected along with 20 other very talented and creative individuals as part of the 2016 Ted Fellows class.  That’s right, those TED talks you see all over social media that inspire you and get you thinking about the world in a different way—I get to be a part of that in February in Vancouver 2016, and along with my other 2015 class members, deliver a short TED talk. 


Yep.  If being part of an amazing community of thinkers, doers, activists and shakers wasn’t enough; I’ll have the opportunity to go to Vancouver in advance of the program, meet other TED 2016 fellows and build up to the moment when I get to give a TED talk!


“The TED Fellows program brings together young innovators from around the world and across disciplines, who display both outstanding achievement and exemplary character, to ignite their careers. The program offers Fellows full participation in the TED or TEDGlobal Conference, a two-day pre-conference of workshops and activities, a biannual Fellows Retreat, ongoing professional coaching and mentoring through the SupporTED program, dedicated PR coaching and active participation in the TED community, including the global TED Fellows network. Founded in 2009, the TED Fellows program now includes 397 Fellows from 86 countries.”


This is just another step on a very long journey. I never thought when I applied that it would lead to all this.  I’m passionate about my work.  My goal is to move us all beyond clichés about food bringing the world together and bridging differences.  The culinary expression of the civilization our Ancestors brought from West and Central Africa is no small thing. It in many ways is our salvation, joy we can reap despite our mourning. I look forward to taking that message further.  I also want to bring a healing to my native land, the American South, a place stained with regret, pain, and unresolved challenges that have manifested in body and bone.


The Cooking Gene will be published next year as well. It’s happy fortune that TED, the publication of my first major book with HarperCollins, and the fortieth anniversary of the book that inspired me, Alex Haley’s Roots, all coincide. I hope to finally see West Africa by May. I cannot tell y’all how sincerely honored I am that so many of you have taken this journey with me. I feel as though my sense of kinfolk has grown. Having lost my Mom last year, I can only say this would be better if she were here, but she is spiritually with me. I love all the light she’s sent me, and all the encouragement this blog and it’s community on Twitter and Facebook and I cannot thank you for helping me come to see this day.


I want to thank all of you for your support in all the forms in which you’ve given it.  I want to thank the people who helped me grow my voice and those who have cast their lot with Afroculinaria and uts mission. Finally, I want to thank the TED Fellows team for their confidence that I would be a valuable member of the TED Community, the 2016 Fellows and that I have a message that a larger audience needs to hear.  I’m truly excited for all the things to come!


About michaelwtwitty

I am a Judaics teacher and Culinary Historian focusing on the foodways of Africa, enslaved African Americans, African America and the African and Jewish diasporas.
This entry was posted in African American Food History, Events and Appearances, Pop Culture and Pop Food, Publications, Scholars, Scholars, Elders and Wise Folk, The Cooking Gene and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to I’m a TED Fellow

  1. kathieps says:

    Congratulations Michael, I will listen/see your talk in Feb. Keep up the great work. Abrazos

  2. KKM says:

    Congratulations to you–Looking forward to the book, your talk-short it may be, but chockfull of knowledge as well. Just smiling about the many ways in which your hard work, passion, dedication, and excitement about The Cooking Gene are continuing to be recognized.

  3. James Golden says:

    Congratulations. I grew up in Mississippi, but left 40 years ago. It’s great to read about what you are doing.

  4. Cynthia Canada says:

    Mazel tov!

  5. Lusekelo Munene says:

    Congratulation! I love TED TALKS and I look forward to seeing you on the show. God Bless You!

  6. Jam says:

    Congratulations and all the best. I love TED talks and look forward to hearing what you have to say! I hope you will enjoy your experience 🙂

  7. lunalight7 says:

    I’m so proud of you…I wish you continued love and light on your journey….

  8. So proud of you, happy for you, and thrilled for all of us in the world who benefit from your work and your journey. They chose wisely and well in including you in this worthy and honored circle. Your star shoots ever higher in the sky and shines ever brighter! Congratulations and what joy we who love, enjoy, and count on you will have watching this unfold.

  9. lagerwhat says:

    Mazel tov, Michael!

  10. Hi. I just started following your blog. I am researching multiple aspects of the War Between The State and the U.S. Slavery for an upcoming slave period fictional book that I am writing based on my family.The setting is in South Georgia.Thanks for all that you do to educate and promote slavery period food. This is an important aspect of history and the information needs to never be forgotten.

  11. So proud of you Michael! I am convinced that what you are doing will help heal our nation. You have so many of us who are cheering you on, never feel alone. God bless!

  12. Pingback: What in the World? | Blog round-up #1 |

  13. Pingback: Black Culinary History Year in Review 2015 | Kwanzaa Culinarians

  14. sooze bloom deLeon grossman says:

    Late in my congratulations- but heartfelt none the less! Mazal tov- all light life love as you labor forth/
    More Joy! More Justice!- sooze

  15. Thank you for sharing your voice and educating us with such heart and soul. It is an honor to know you, Michael.

  16. This is amazing. So cool that you’re preserving our shared cultural history, in the most delicious way!

  17. it’s so good to read of all this, you so deserve every bit of it. write on. ❤

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