TEDx came to Harlem heralding perhaps a redawning of the intellectual and creative spirit that dwelt in that community during its halcyon days. TEDxharlem was an all-day gathering of intellectuals, academics and truth seekers expounding on ideas and innovations and celebrating the power of the ideas to change attitudes, lives and the world. That is the mission of TED.
What is TED?
Since 1990, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences held in Silicon Valley have allowed America’s best minds to passionately, and often entertainingly, present their case in front of the elite audiences TED conferences draw. Past TED presenters have included President Bill Clinton, primatologist Jane Goodall, and Microsoft® founder Bill Gates. TEDx events are local conferences conducted under TED approval and guidance.
TED is a forum where researchers, educators, inventors and intellectuals to bring their magnificently avant garde, forward thinking project findings and closely-held philosophies out of the Wiz’s black bag for a public show and tell. Harlem’s TEDx event brought out some of Harlem’s best and brightest like Chef Marcus Samuelsson, award-winning Chef, author and owner of the successful restaurant Red Rooster Harlem.
With tickets costing over $100 (which were later drastically reduced in cost after an outcry about the price being exclusionary), this first of its kind event drew over 700 people to witness live or via webcast the great Harlem reawakening . The theme of TEDxharlem was “Creating Waves” the idea of something happening locally that has impact elsewhere like the informal channels of social interaction in Harlem and communities like Harlem nationwide that are helping to redefine communities, cities and individuals.
Some of the more interesting presenters at TEDx included Bruce Duncan’s Bina48, one of the world’s most advanced social robots. Machines capable of mimicking human behavior like socializing are the next frontier of robotic science.
True to its cultural roots, TEDxHarlem included presenters from the performing arts including 15-year old prodigy Khadim Diop who is an American thespian and songwriter. Veteran of the New York stage Vy Higgensen, trailblazing writer, director, producer and media personality whose play “Mama I Want to Sing”, the longest running African-American Off-Broadway musical in history. The energy was palable and the possiblities limitless.
TEDxharlem was an independently organized TED event by Marcus Glover in partnership with LivingLabs Foundation, NYC.