2019 Speaker Interviews, Speakers, TEDxColumbus

An Interview with Speaker Tripp Fontane

A TEDxColumbus interview with Speaker Tripp Fontane


TEDxColumbus: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

TF: I am a poet, rapper, and music producer from Dayton, Ohio. I have a passion for community empowerment, education reform, and human interconnectivity. I have been performing professionally for 10 years. I’ve been blessed to travel the country and most recently travel outside the country doing what I love to do.


: What do others consider to be the most surprising thing about you?

TF: My story. I don’t look like nor do I carry myself in a way that reflects the things that I’ve gone through. Because of that, most people are surprised when I tell them all that I’ve done and seen.


: What inspired your interest in TEDxColumbus?

TF: Honestly, this isn’t something I imagined myself doing. At least not this soon in my career. A friend of mine who had given a talk before just told me to go for it. I took a shot in the dark and it actually hit the mark.


: What are you most looking forward to as a TEDxColumbus speaker/performer?

TF: I’m most looking forward to the challenge. I’ve never spoken on such a large and well-respected platform. A platform that’s going to require a certain degree of precision. Having to format what I do is always a little uncomfortable for me. I also know growth lies on the other side of discomfort. This will be an opportunity for me to push myself in ways that other opportunities haven’t required. I know I’m going to be a better artist and speaker at the end of it so I’m most excited about that.


: What inspires you about the future of Columbus?

TF: The city makes a deliberate effort to support the arts. With myself and so many other friends being artists, Columbus is slowly and surely making it possible to live comfortably as a full-time artist.


: When you host visitors from outside of Columbus, where will you typically take them?

TF: I typically take visiting friends to the King-Lincoln district or Franklinton to talk about the affluent Black communities that used to be present there. There’s so much history in just those two neighborhoods. So much treasure to unearth.


Columbus: If you could give advice to yourself as a high school student, what would it be?

TF: I would tell myself to stay focused and be consistent. I didn’t grow up in a stable home so there were always a lot of external factors affecting my upbringing. It became hard to stay focused and eventually it became hard to finish things. Having realized this as an adult, I think knowing and applying it would’ve completely changed my present day.

: What is your favorite book and why?

TF: My favorite book would have to be The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. He tackles so many perplexing topics and simplifies them in such a way that I truly believe a middle-schooler could understand. That simplicity in writing and understanding shows a level of mastery that I’m working to reach.


And just for fun:

TEDxColumbus: Netflix or Theater

TF: Theater

Columbus: Facebook or Twitter

TF: Twitter

: Form or Function

TF: Function

: Beach or Mountains

TF: Mountains

: Big Party or Small Gathering

TF: Small Gathering