Dexter Thomas is a scholar of international music and youth cultures, hailing from San Bernardino, CA. He is developing audio podcasts to highlight the innovations and collaborations fostered by the Humanities Council, through a 2021–22 Emerging Voices Fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). This program enables recent earners of doctorates in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to work for a year at certain institutions within the ACLS’s Research University Consortium. Selected for outstanding scholarship and effective communication, Fellows bring the humanities to the broader public.
As a scholar, Thomas holds a PhD in Asian Studies from Cornell University, specializing in underground Japanese hip-hop cultures. At UC Riverside, his alma mater, he established the world’s largest publicly accessible collection of Japanese hip-hop music and cultural materials. Most recently, at UCLA, he taught a course on the concept of ‘cool’ in Japanese pop culture.
As a journalist, he has most recently worked as an on-camera correspondent for VICE News Tonight, with documentaries appearing on HBO, VICE TV, and Showtime, covering topics from policing and opioids in the US to hip-hop in China and elections in South Africa. He was also host and producer of RESET, a 10-episode TV series covering the unseen world of video games.
As a musician and DJ, he has written music appearing on HBO and VICE TV, and has performed in various small clubs in upstate New York and Tokyo.
Thomas has contributed to Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage while at the Los Angeles Times. Winner of an LA Press Club Award, he is a Fulbright Scholar and a three-time News Emmy nominee.