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Meet Dexter Thomas Jr., the Black Twitter Reporter

The media world is buzzing about Los Angeles Times’ recent hire. The west coast newspaper hired a reporter to cover the ‘Black Twitter’ beat. The announcement instantly provoked a side-eye and deservingly so.

But who the hell is this reporter and why did the Times make the decision? There’s no clear answer to the latter question. We can only guess the Times, like mainstream culture in general, finds Black Twitter the most fascinating phenomenon ever invented since big booties and box braids.

@ouxu whatup mattie

A photo posted by @dexdigi on

Poynter says the reporter is Dexter Thomas, Jr., a doctoral candidate at Cornell University studying East Asian studies. He’s from San Bernardino and yes, he’s Black.

Jawbreaker did some extra digging, because well, we need to know more about the guy who’s basically going to be Black Twitter’s new overseer, or more plainly, the moderator we didn’t elect.

1. Dexter is very smart.

According to Dexter’s LinkedIn, he speaks Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. He is studying East Asian studies as we mentioned previously, and also according to Poynter, he’s into Japanese Hip Hop. They’re into us, too. Fair is fair.

2. Dexter is very ‘Black’.

With this Hotep-esque sky high-top fade—channeling ’80s hip hop and Kid from Kid n’ Play, Dexter not only looks like he could be an extra in the ‘Self-Destruction’  video—thick beads and glasses included—he’s written articles like “Don’t unfriend your racist Facebook friends” and “Why white people aren’t as cool as black people.” Dexter has bylines in Al Jazeera, Fader, The Guardian, Complex among other major media brands.

3. Dexter is very active on social.

He’s on just about every social media site known to man @dexdigi. He posts to his Vine often. Mostly random stuff like taking an elevator up to Ruby Tuesdays with ‘On a Tuesday’ audio in the background. Ooh, he’s so clever.

Over on Twitter, his new office digs, Dexter has 4,615 followers and counting and has been tweeted a lot from citizens of Black Twitter. There’s congratulatory messages and warnings like:

To that, Dexter responded, “That’s not my style,” and inquires who plagiarized the tweeter exactly. @TheNewThinker fell silent there.

4. Dexter makes beats, too.

Dexter’s beats are EDM-style, with a little David Guetta stank and some Trap claps, if you listen close enough. Have a listen here.

5. Over on Instagram…

Dexter’s fascination with all things Asian continues. There’s a random and mildly suspect picture of a Peep Show Girls Toys shop. Dexter captioned this photo stating, “I went in here to buy my neighbor’s daughter a set of Lego’s, and was thoroughly disappointed.”

He continues posting, “Also what’s up with the gendered kids toys, this is 2015 guys get it together.”

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A photo posted by @dexdigi on

6. Don’t look for Dexter on ‘Black People Meet’ or any other Black-only dating sites.

Dexer’s not into any of that or what he calls, “Microsegmentation.” He posted a new app MELD on his Instagram and basically blasted it with the caption: Oh, neat. Microsegmentation.”

 

Oh, neat. Microsegmentation. Professionals. I wonder how that works.

 

A photo posted by @dexdigi on

7. Dexter wrote an article in Complex criticizing research on Black Twitter.

University of Southern California did a study on Black Twitter, and Dexter wasn’t feeling it. Particularly the fact that out of four researchers on the project only one was Black.

Dexter also wrote, “I don’t believe that there’s anything unique about the slang in Black Twitter that I don’t see in any other forum or community.” He argues against the then developing study’s claim Black Twitter “evolves rapidly over time, complicating any effort to generate a definitive list of key terms or phrases.”

To that Dexter wrote, “Yeah, no That’s not a black thing, that’s the nature of online communities, or community, period.”

We think it’s safe to assume, Dexter Thomas, Jr. won’t be treating Black people on Twitter like a bunch of lab rats in his coverage for the Times.

We do hope, however, Dexter gets it right, and manages to keep up with the onslaught of memes and gifs from Black Twitter’s play cousin Black Instagram.

Geneva S. Thomas

Geneva S. Thomas

Geneva is the founder of Jawbreaker, which she plans on turning into an intergalactic all-girl army that will someday storm the streets of the world in studded bras and Tom Ford boots. She recently took up archery and collects more books than shoes.