Ben Herson

I was born and raised in Newton MA and grew up in a musical household where there was a constant connection between life, politics and music. It was through my experience playing Jamaican music that I became interested in the intersection of music and youth movements in the Caribbean and Africa, a subject I studied as a Cultural Anthropology major at Hampshire College. 


In 1999 I traveled to Senegal and discovered a young and thriving hip-hop scene there. What inspired me most about the hip-hop music in Senegal was that it was created not just to entertain but also to educate the Senegalese public about important social and political issues. I returned to Dakar in 2000, after studying Wolof at Columbia University and wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the intersection of Senegalese hip-hop and political change.


In 2000, I moved to Brooklyn and started Nomadic Wax. In its early days Nomadic Wax was a fair trade record label and Production Company that helped socially engaged hip-hop musicians promote and distribute their music internationally. In 2007, we began producing documentary film with a project titled "Democracy in Dakar" a film that documented the role of hip-hop on Senegal's 2007 election.


Starting in 2010, I worked as a producer for MTV World. Among many other activities I was the senior series producer for the globally acclaimed MTV film series Rebel Music, a multi-part documentary series about the intersection of music, youth and social change from around the world.


Since graduating from UMass I have worked in a series of positions as a producer for brand names.  I spent 3 years with Great Big Story, a global video company devoted to cinematic storytelling, as producer and director of branding campaigns. Subsequently I spent a year at the Washington Post as producer in their brand studio.



Then in 2020 I moved to Amazon where I started as Head of Creative and producer for Amazon Stories. In 2022 I became Head of Creative for GCA Marketing with Amazon where I am currently working.  A summary of the various videos and documentaries I have produced can be found on my website here. [9-23]



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CIE Graduate