TEDx returns to Kent


Tedx KentState

Madeline Scalzi

When senior magazine journalism major Ile-Ife Okantah learned Kent State would again be hosting a TEDx talk this spring, she had no idea that in a few short months she would be sharing her passion for cultural acceptance with so many of her peers and professors.

Code switching, as Okantah explained, is a widely used communication technique based on whom a person is communicating with. She has always found the topic interesting because of her passion for understanding how people use words to convey emotions. She also enjoys studying how people use language within their cultures.  

“I’m really focusing on code switching in the black community,” said Okantah. “Ebonics is technically one of the most researched English-language patterns ever.”

During her speech, Okantah will also speak about an impactful experience she had while visiting a black friend from Kent in the South Side of Chicago.

“Even though I’m black, (his reality) wasn’t necessarily my reality,” said Okantah. “What I took away was how seamlessly he code switched — based on how he navigates his environment in Kent, I had no idea that he came from that place.”

In addition to Okantah, 11 other speakers from many walks of life were selected over 100 applicants to speak on their chosen topics ranging from drunk driving and overdose experiences, to meditation and tattoo acceptance.

Voted “Most Impactful Event on Kent Campus” by the CSI Student Leadership Awards last year, this years TEDxKentState will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can use the code “TEDX50” to receive $5 off their admissions ticket on TedxKentState.com through Wednesday.

Okantah hopes that from her speech audience members will remember all people code switch, and that it is necessary to speak about code switching and cultural diversity in America today.

Madeline Scalzi is the student life and education reporter. Contact her at [email protected]