You’re probably asking, “What’s a thrival?” Fair question, so I direct you to Dr. Nathaniel Irvin II, a noted futurist and currently the Woodrow M. Strickler Chair at the University of Louisville College of Business, the man who coined the term.  Since 2004, he’s been using the term to describe what he calls “the post-struggle” generation of African Americans.  Like me, you may just only be hearing about him now, thanks to that most famous thrival, Janelle Monae.  She and I talked briefly about this when I interviewed her on WRFB.

But more specifically, here’s how he talks about thrivals:

They are the first generation of blacks who will aggressively compete in the battle to shape the images, ideas and the future of global culture, business and commerce, science and technology, education, politics, the environment, the arts, and the role of nongovernmental organizations.

Where’d we come from? Dr. Irvin goes on to write:

Thrivals are the manifestation of a profound but subtle shift in awareness with the American black community and blacks worldwide: a shift from the consciousness of survival to that of thrival. . .For blacks, thrival represents. . .a transition from seeing oneself and ones community as being the victims of history and oppression. . .to a new worldview. . .where succeeding generations. . .see themselves as forces capable of shaping the future rather than being shaped by the forces of the future.

Dr. Irvin is the driver behind the whole day (September 29) program devoted thrivals at the upcoming Idea Festival, a four-day event that celebrates innovation, imagination and cutting edge ideas.  They’ll close out the day with a performance by Janelle.  Think of this event as a competitor to the TED conference.

Anyway, in preparation for this year’s festival, Dr. Irvin is doing a survey.  Take it and find out where you rate on the thrivals scale.  It’s 21 questions and only takes four (4) minutes.

Definitely check out the festival.  Here Dr. Irvin talks about the day:

Bottom line: Thrivals. Post-modern blackness. Blaxploration. The new black imagination. The mainstreaming of black rock. It’s all related.  This is simply further proof.

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