TEDsters in the news: Ron Finley dubbed ‘Appleseed with an Attitude,’ Malcolm London on his TED Talks Education poem

Posted by:

Ron Finley electrified the audience at TED2013 with his fresh take on guerilla gardening. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

This weekend, we opened up the Style section of The New York Times to see a very familiar face — renegade gardener Ron Finley, whose talk “A guerilla gardener in South Central LA” now has more than 900,000 views. In the article, Finley describes what he calls “the TED effect” — the slew of interest that his electric talk at TED2013 has brought from celebrities, television shows and companies with collaboration ideas. Finley’s down-to-earth response?

“All the attention in the world won’t do my dishes,” he tells the paper.

Meanwhile, Malcolm London — the 20-year-old poet who will appear in Tuesday night’s TED Talks Education special on PBS — was interviewed in The Chicago Tribune this weekend. “On Tuesday night, if you tune into PBS’ one-hour special ‘TED Talks Education,’ you’ll see host John Legend and an array of prominent speakers, including Bill Gates, giving impassioned talks about ways to reinvent education,” the article reads. “You’ll also see Chicago’s Malcolm Xavier London performing a spoken-word poem about the racial and class tensions he experienced as a double honors student growing up in the tough Austin neighborhood while attending the more well-to-do Lincoln Park High School.”

The article asks London tough questions about his low GPA in high school and the fact that, while he’s teaching poetry, he hasn’t yet gone to college. He tells the paper that his high school performance was, in a way, a protest.

“I would leave my neighborhood and go to school, and I was seeing how divided the city was,” London says. “I felt whatever I was learning in class, wasn’t teaching me why people on the West Side were dying every day … I knew that four years later I’d be able to get into a distinguished college, but school wasn’t teaching me how to survive or better my community, and I wanted to change where I came from.”

Also in the news: TED-Ed was just named one of TIME magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2013.”