Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

LC Johnson


LC Johnson

After watching way too many episodes of “Law and Order,” LC Johnson thought she would go to law school.  She signed up for the Visions of Freedom Focus program and was looking for a fourth class.  She enrolled in a Women’s Studies course, because the time worked in her schedule, and was immediately hooked. 

She had been raised in a very female-oriented family and her coursework gave her the tools to interpret and analyze her environment.  LC agonized over the decision to major in Women’s Studies because it didn’t lead to practical outcomes.  She reflects, “It was one of the most impactful decisions I've ever made, not because it made me particularly marketable for a traditional job, but because I first made the intentional decision to only engage in work that is profoundly meaningful to me. Remaining true to this decision often means taking the road less traveled and I've had to be OK with that, OK with the uncertainty, OK with the frustration, OK with the confusion that comes with following a purpose-driven path.”

As an undergrad, she tended to do her own thing.  “I was active in the black community but not necessarily as a part of one specific organization. I didn't join a sorority, even though the majority of my friends did. A lot of my leadership development took place in the form of my own identity exploration. I applied for research grants and had the opportunity to travel to London and explore the intersection of food and its impact on identity and culture of African diasporic people. I did an independent study of Black women's identity formation at predominately white institutions of higher education. When I needed to get out of my own head, I volunteered in the Durham community - working at women's shelters, learning more about the history of the city, and tutoring students at a local elementary school.” 

LC encourages Duke first-year women to “Do you. Just DO YOU. Don't worry about what everyone else wants, what your parents will think, what your friends think is cool. Figure out who you are and what you want and chase that thing, whatever it looks like, for as long as you possibly can.” 

She credits her mom, who quit her job on Wall Street to write a book, for inspiration.  “She built an extremely successful, extremely non-traditional career based on her passion and disregard of words like ‘no’ and ‘you can’t’, all while juggling four small children.  Even though I’m married with my own business, my mom remains my hero and one of my biggest cheerleaders. We talk pretty much every day!”

After graduating from Duke in 2010, LC worked in the non-profit arena and then took a position with Bull City Forward, an organization that enables entrepreneurs to create positive social change.  After BCF down-sized, her position became part-time and was eventually eliminated.  It was a major turning point in her career as she decided to turn her passion project into a business.  Colored Girl Confidential was born.  CGC is a blog for women who want their outside – their career, relationships, and lifestyle – to match their inside – their values, passions, spiritual beliefs, and goals for the future.

She notes that, at the time, blogs for African American women were mainly about fashion.  LC wanted to create a space for women to process their observations and experiences about race and gender.  She has cultivated a following of 2500+ between the blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Her latest initiative is Colored Water Fountain.  The name derives from the historical place where women at work offer each other support; LC also strived to reframe a negative image from segregation.  The project is transforming a small group of total strangers into an intimate community.

Colored Girl Confidential was recognized in 2012 on Forbes’ List of Top 100 Blogs for Women.

http://www.coloredgirlconfidential.com/