BLACK VOICES

Baratunde Thurston, AOL Team Up For Web Series 'Funded'

05/01/2013 04:10 pm ET

Baratunde knows a thing or two about being an entrepreneur. The author and comedian has a history of both successful and failed ventures throughout his career, and it's that exact experience that's helping him as he takes on his latest project.

The How To Be Black author has teamed up with AOL for a web series named "Funded," which will document the success stories of small businesses that were crowdfunded.

"For me, this show is a long time in waiting," Thurston told The Huffington Post. "When you look at what makes these campaigns work, like why do people -- especially strangers -- give money. It's the story. It's the pitch. I think being able to tell this new story of how people are getting their ideas made, that's the future."

Crowdfunding is not a new concept to Thurston, who said he used to pass around a hat for donations during his comedy shows. It's also a tradition deeply rooted in the black community.

"Like many trends that have sort of become mainstream, we'll recognize it like 'Oh look, that's that thing we've been doing,'" he said. "It's got a fun new name, but the bypass of a major institution through community is something that we've experienced because we've had no other way."

Both Thurston's series and sentiments seem right on time, as several initiatives that aim to target the potential of crowdfunding to benefit minorities have come to fruition, such as BlackCrowdfunding.net.

Thurston said he hopes that common thread will attract all audiences and that the accessibility of the show on the web will draw viewers.

"We're gonna have fun, it's gonna be a fun watch," he said. "I'll be really curious to see who connects with it."

Check out "Funded" and a number of other AOL original shows here.

Editor's Note: AOL is the parent company of The Huffington Post.

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