4 ted talks by caribbean american women

4 TED Talks by Caribbean American Women You Should Watch

What are TED Talks?

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design – which represented the topics the conference initially covered when it first began in 1984.Today, TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). It has also expanded to cover almost all topics ranging from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

What’s a TEDx?

Meanwhile, TEDx are local, independently run events that help share ideas in communities around the world. TEDx are live TED-like talks and it also shares with the community videos previously recorded at TED conferences.

I’ve watched many TedTalks and TedX’s, and often times we hear about and see TED talks by successful mainstream business people, author, scientist, educator etc more widely circulated.

So I’ve compiled a playlist of my favorite TED Talks by Caribbean Americans. However for Women’s History month, I’ve highlighted these 4 Ted Talks by Caribbean American Women.

What is fi yu cyan un fi yu


Kristina Newman-Scott, a Jamaican American is the former President of BRIC, a leading arts and media institution anchored in Downtown Brooklyn whose work spans a contemporary visual and performing arts, media, and civic action. She is the first immigrant and first woman of color to serve in this position and one of the very few women of color leading a major New York cultural institution.

Newman-Scott remembers her Grandmother’s constant reminder of a Jamaican Proverb “What is fi yu cyan un fi yu” – which translates to “If it belongs to you it is already yours and if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant for you in the first place.” And how this proverb guided her through every important decision she’s had to make in her life. Her talk highlights the influence of Grandmothers, Caribbean Parent’s expectations of their children and their careers as well as the Caribbean Culture influence. This TedX will inspire you to pursue your dreams and that they will eventually come true if you remember “What is fi yu cyan un fi yu”.

The Pattern of Small Moves

Christine Souffrant is a Haitian American entrepreneur Founder at Haiti Tech Summit, Forbes 30 Under 30. An award- winning Haitian-American entrepreneur & startup ecosystem expert for emerging economies.

In this TedX Christine suggests that “the next time someone says the secret to success is to follow your passion”, one should respond “thanks, for nothing”. Why? Because it’s a generic advice that is widely used yet it’s illusive because our passion changes all the time. Instead Christine suggests, one follow the patterns because they are reliable, repeatable tendencies. She explains how using her “ATE” method can help you identify your patterns.

This TedX will inspire you because if you’ve struggled with identifying a passion, now you have been validated about why that was challenging. If you’ve already found a passion/pattern – this talk will help you refine it even more.

Tell Your Failure Story


Felecia Hatcher is the Co-Founder of Code Fever and Black Tech Week.  Code Fever is an initiative that trains African-American and Caribbean youth and young adults  in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship. In addition, Hatcher founded Feverish Pops a Miami based gourmet popsicle manufacturing company with clients like Google, Airbnb, Paypal and Wholefoods.

In this TedX, Hatcher advocates more transparent discussion of failure as a recipe for success. When someone else shares their failure story, it gives you hope because they often time gives you perspective because often time success and failure doesn’t look like what they’re suppose to look like. So when failure happens, we are devastated. She  points out that the failure story is part of the entrepreneurial process and life process and should be shared more often. You have to trust the process.  Hatcher describes the failures that formed the pillars of her success with Feverish.

The evolving identity of a first generation American

Somara Theodore is a Trinidadian American. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology.

In this TEDx, Somara talks about the complexities and evolving identity of Caribbean American. She states that the first generation American identity doesn’t have a starting point or an end point but rather flows. For some the challenge is trying to balance between two different cultures for others there isn’t a challenge. What is culture? How do you identify with culture? She goes in-depth about identity switching or “code switching” depending on the environment. In this podcast episode, Alysia and I discussed “code switching” and other aspects of being Caribbean born in America and being Caribbean American – American born to Caribbean parents or grandparents.

Check out our full list of TED Talks by Caribbean or Caribbean American featuring both men and women.

Your Turn

Let us know in the comments your favorite TED talks by Caribbean Americans that should make our playlist.

Updated: 9/1/20


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.