I’m a journalist, speaker, author, and academic.
My speaking includes Bridging The Cultural Divide Among Women, the Opening Keynote at the 2019 Multicultural Women’s National Conference with Working Mother Media, and Covering a Diverse and Divided America, at American University’s School of Communications.
My writing includes this article I wrote about my ongoing journey to adoption published on Zora, my corresponding interview with Michel Martin on PBS’s Amanopour & Co, and “The Voters”, my series for FiveThirtyEight.com on demographics and the American voter in the 2016 election.
My interviews include this conversation on CNN’s podcast Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter about racism and covering ‘political propaganda’ in the age of Trump, and this interview I gave on WNYC’s The Takeaway about gender and equity.
Since writing my first book Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans and becoming a CNN analyst in 1995, I have given thousands of speeches and hosted hundreds of events. With my background in journalism, academia, and pop-culture, I know how to bring up issues that people generally don’t want to talk about in ways that encourage openness and new understandings.
I give keynote presentations, lectures, and commencement speeches around the world. Each talk is tailored specifically to that audience – whether it’s at the United Nations, a national business conference, or a nonprofit. I also frequently speak at universities, including Harvard and Yale, large state universities and regional colleges, and journalism-centered institutions.
From one-on-one interviews to larger panels, I lead fruitful and balanced conversations for audiences with culture makers, politicians, artists, and leaders, including Kamala Harris, Edward Lewis, and Gloria Feldt.
I also facilitate private brainstorming sessions for people, companies and nonprofits on using content and building community.
Recent Speaking Engagements
- Bridging The Cultural Divide Among Women, the Opening Keynote at the 2019 Multicultural Women’s National Conference with Working Mother Media
- Covering a Diverse and Divided America, at American University’s School of Communication
- The Truth is Overrated: Why culture, emotion, and even falsehoods are as critical as the truth for the Australian Market and Social Research Society
- What’s Next for Diversity in the Media? at Ford Foundation’s ‘Represent! Forging a new future for journalism and media diversity’ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission
- The Episodic Career, a speech based on my book of the same title, at the 99U Conference
I write articles, speeches, and more. Here are a few things I’m proud of:
- This article I wrote about my ongoing journey to adoption published on Zora, and my corresponding interview with Michel Martin on PBS’s Amanopour & Co
- This article in Glamour magazine about my personal hero, Betty Reid Soskin, who is an activist, artist, entrepreneur – and was, at 97 years old, America’s oldest park ranger
- The speech “The Reconstruction of American Journalism in the Age of Culture War” that I gave at ‘The Power of Narrative’ conference at Boston University
- “The Voters”, my series for FiveThirtyEight.com on demographics and the American voter in the 2016 election
I’m frequently interviewed on areas of expertise including politics, media, employment and gender equity. Some you might enjoy:
- This conversation on CNN’s podcast Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter about racism and covering ‘political propaganda’ in the age of Trump
- This interview I gave on WNYC’s The Takeaway about gender and equity
- This interview on the podcast “It’s All Journalism” on how to cover a diverse and divided America
- My conversation with the Knowledge@Wharton business podcast on my book “The Episodic Career”
I also write books about the future of work, politics, and novels.
You remember that defiant cry from childhood: “You’re not the boss of me!” Well, a question we should ask ourselves in adulthood is, who is the boss of me? Whether or not you work for yourself, a small company, or a huge corporation, we’re in an era of disruption and psychological self-employment. We all have to think about retraining ourselves in case our jobs or industries change radically, and advocate for our own long-term economic health. My political reporting during the Great Recession led me back to the topic of jobs again and again. I wanted to understand how Americans re-envisioned and rebuilt their work and financial lives during this era.
The great recession is technically over, but the period of intense disruption and creation in the world of jobs and careers will go on for the foreseeable future. The question is: how do you prepare, respond, evolve? In The Episodic Career I use in-depth storytelling and analysis to explore themes of personal resilience and how, no matter what kind of work we do, we can find new paths in a world of technological and economic change.
Although women make up half of the population, only 14% of engineers in the United States are women. The future of technology and our society depends on the full and active participation of women and men working together.
Co-written with professor and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, Innovating Women includes interviews and essays from hundreds of women in STEM fields, including Anousheh Ansari, the first female private sector space explorer, former Google[X] VP and CTO of the USA Megan Smith, Ory Okolloh of the Omidyar Network, and venture capitalist Heidi Roizen. Innovating Women offers perspectives on the challenges that women face, the strategies that they employ in the workplace, and how an organization can succeed or fail in its attempts to support the career advancement of women.
Other Books By Me
Nominated for a 2010 NAACP Image Award, Kiss the Sky tracks the life of Sophie “Sky” Lee, a thirtysomething black rock musician making a comeback in New York City in 2000. There are a few hitches to her plans: Sky’s guitarist is her mercurial, drug-abusing ex-husband; her manager is also her boyfriend; and Sky herself is frightened of the cost she’ll pay to reach the pinnacle of fame. Add to that her struggles with religion, her family, and her meddling girlfriends and you have a book which blends substantial themes of love, faith, and longing with contemporary pop culture. Kiss the Sky also has a catalogue of music references on par with books like High Fidelity.
“In these provocative pieces, Farai Chideya looks at and beyond the daily political struggles to the heart of a nation at war with itself. The 2000 election highlighted the rift between liberal/conservative and Red State/Blue State. But that superficial crack, says Chideya, indicates much more serious, indeed foundational, damage. The United States, she argues, lacks the moral, legal, and psychological framework for debating complex issues in a pluralistic society, relying instead on an outdated dichotomy model that says each issue has two opposing sides instead of many interested parties.”
— African American Literature Book Club, 2004
“In her penetrating cross-country tour of the United States, gifted media star-on-the-rise and cultural critic Farai Chideya reveals how America’s young people are deconstructing the white/black definition of race and constructing a new pluralistic paradigm that encompasses the country’s white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and native peoples. ‘We do not obey the laws of race. We make them,’ she writes. ‘Now is the time for us to choose wisely what we will preserve about our racial and cultural history, and what destructive divisions we need to leave behind.’”
— Publishers Weekly, 1998
“The stated purpose of Chideya’s book is to ‘give readers a chance to question the depictions of race that have become standard in newspapers and on the nightly news, a map through the modern realities and misconceptions about race.’ She succeeds in 18 chapters, each of which discusses an issue, then examines the reality behind frequently asked questions and frequently held myths.”
— Publishers Weekly, 1995
Farai spoke at the 2017 Australian Market & Social Research Society Conference in Sydney and she was a pleasure to work with from the outset. As for her presentation… interesting, insightful and entertaining. Farai was definitely one of our conference highlights and feedback from delegates was excellent. Our national broadcaster the ABC also picked her up for an interview.
I speak about building workplace race and gender equity; how American media affects democracy and civil society; how to understand the American voter; and more.
Book a speaking engagement for your event or network.
I share weekly insights about American demographics, equity and equality, voter behavior and other perspectives you won’t hear about anywhere else.