Where is all the Black thought leadership?

Dr Brian J Dixon
2 min readMay 4, 2024

The answer: either at work or worried about how to pay the bills.

I enjoy listening to NPR: Ted talks, How I Built This, This American Life…since most music nowadays is meh, I just keep my car radio to the local NPR affiliate (in this case, KERA). Between the newscasts and news updates, there’s a LOT of white guy commentary. Like. A lot.

For example, I was listening to Adam Grant talk about how people make up their minds. And it was fascinating…I don’t dispute his expertise. But I (as a practicing psychiatrist who literally treats actual people) have more nuance to add than his general talking points. Why wasn’t I invited on the show?

And then it hit me.

I’m working.

Literally, today I was at work. I scheduled a patient on a Saturday because it was the only time I could get the parents in one room to chat about things. The result? I’m not available for conferences and podcasts, books and interviews.

But what about the Black folks that already have conferences, podcasts, books, and interviews? Aren’t they the Black thought leadership we need to listen to?

Sadly no. With a few exceptions (Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr being one of them), if you see a Black person excelling on the speaking circuit, they’re likely not blazing a trail of thought leadership but rather excelling in the trails that already exist.

Why do I say that? Because true Black thought leadership is dangerous and gets us killed/persecuted/blackballed/ignored/doxx’ed. True Black thought leadership is when Black folks speak truth to power about Black folx, white folks, and everyone in between. True Black thought leadership discusses equity AND privilege in context, including “intersectionality” and human nature.

Club Shay Shay may be interesting. The Breakfast Club entertaining. Joy Reid provocative. And David Chappelle is funny. But it’s not Black thought leadership…we’re too busy trying to make ends meet.