As a student of both religion and political science, media entrepreneur Benjamin Dixon has spent the majority of his journalism career covering and advocating for social justice from the often ignored intersection where these two powerful forces meet. As the creator of Progressive Army and co-founder of the revitalized The North Star, and a leader in the power of digital activism, Dixon is on a mission to help organizations and other strong community voices create platforms and content where unique perspectives and opinions are encouraged to thrive; fostering a more complete dialogue about Black thought on all issues.
As Benjamin Dixon formed his impression of the world as a child, he gathered from the community around him that there was a great power to be found in the pulpit. “When I was younger, I saw preachers as the most outspoken people in our neighborhood and our broader community,” Dixon recalls. “When there was an injustice, the Black preacher led the way. So growing up, I felt like the preaching ministry was one of the best ways to ‘change the world.” As he stepped into the pulpit himself, he realized that in many cases, the preachers of his generation were not on the political frontlines, leaving on the opportunity to tackle social injustice at its systematic roots.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Political Science at Florida Atlantic University, it became clear to Dixon that the only way to effect change within the Black community would be through politics. While acquiring career experience in education, communications, and marketing, Dixon also began finding outlets for his socio-political commentary as a writer. In 2012, Dixon published his first book, God Is Not A Republican, a balanced critique on the Republican Party’s use of Christianity for political gain. “In American, religion and politics intersect in the Evangelical church,” he explains. “Coming to the realization that my faith had been used to increase the power of the Republican Party and white supremacy forced me into confronting my own belief system. I had to help explain to as many people as possible that the way we’ve been preached to since 1980 has been specifically designed to benefit the Republican Party even to the detriment of our faith and especially to the detriment of marginalized communities around the nation and across the globe.”
The book brought Dixon to a new level of national attention, allowing him to share his opinions on platforms ranging from blogs and local speaking engagement to television appearances on CNN. In 2015, he hesitantly launched the Benjamin Dixon Podcast despite being afraid that his voice might be lost among the sea of political commentators born from the explosion of independent outlets that have emerged over the past few years. “When I took the leap, I quickly realized that the market was not too saturated precisely because my ability to look at any situation and see directly through the political spin elevated my voice and made me stand out in a crowded room of commentators.”As he continued to elevate his profile, Dixon started conceptualizing a media company that could successfully and efficiently tell stories in three different formats: podcasts, videos, and written articles. Upon relocating to Atlanta to take an editorial position with a liberal media company, Dixon was also reminded of the tremendous need that remains for black journalists to have a platform that affords them the opportunity to speak freely and not bound by the politics which cannot even be avoided in spaces controlled by white allies.
In 2018, after the liberal media company folded, Dixon reached out to co-founder Shaun King, recognizing that his vision could not come to life without the true freedom that comes from proper funding. At King’s suggestion, the co-founders reached out to the family of Frederick Douglass and obtained permission to use the name of the abolitionist’s 19th-century newspaper. Thus, The North Star was (re)born.
Benjamin Dixon lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife Jada and their three children, Benjamin, Elisabeth and Jeremiah. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in International Security at the University of Southern Mississippi while working as a digital media consultant.
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