Wake Up With George: The no holds barred video op-ed series you need in your life

Wake Up With George two times a week by visiting theGrio.com and our social media platforms. Contributor George M. Johnson pulls no punches.

George M. JohnsonWake Up With George thegrio.com
George M. Johnson

Wake Up With George two times a week by visiting theGrio.com and our social media platforms. Here you’ll find George M. Johnson giving his intelligent, impassioned, and witty takes on current news as it affects the LGBTQ+ community. As he says, Black lives matter and that includes LGBTQ+ lives. No minced words here.

George M. Johnson is a Black queer journalist and activist located in the NYC area. He has written for TheRoot, ET, HIVequal, TeenVogue, NBC News and several other major publications. Follow him on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Episode 16: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s support of son at the Miami Pride Parade is Exactly What LGBTQ+ Youth Need

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George praises NBA star Dwyane Wade and his wife actress Gabrielle Union for enthusiastically showing support to 11-year-old Zion Wade at the Miami Pride Parade. George was recently on the receiving end of death threats for calling out homophobia and understands how important it is to have a support system.

Episode 15: The Impact of Tennessee State Legislators Advancing an Anti-Equality Law

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George explores the potential impacts of the Tennessee State Legislature advancing a bill that affects LGBTQ families and their ability to adopt children.


Episode 14: What’s Most Important to Get Right for the Upcoming LGBTQ-Focused Presidential Debate

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The Human Rights Campaign will be holding an LGBTQ-focused presidential debate this fall and George has thoughts on what is most important to get right for this

Episode 13: The College Cheating Scandal Further Exposes Rampant Inequality in Education for Black Families

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Wealthy white families funding buildings, research labs, and the like in order to get their children into elite colleges is nothing new, but this latest college cheating scandal has exposed an even more egregious level of rigging and entitlement. George breaks down how this further exposes how shamefully inequitable the education system is for Black families.


Episode 12: R. Kelly and Michal Jackson Celebrity Worship vs The Need to Protect Children 

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R. Kelly and Michael Jackson have both been the subjects of documentaries this year that delved into allegations of sexual abuse with underage people. George talks about why, regardless of belief in whether or not crimes were committed,  some people find it hard to acknowledge inappropriate behavior with children when it comes to celebs.

Episode 11: Why Terry Crews’ ‘Father Figure’ Comments Were Problematic

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Over the weekend, actor Terry Crews made comments on Twitter about children needing “father figures” and he was quickly checked by the LGBTQ community and allies. George explains why Crews’ line of thinking can be dangerous.

Episode 10: 7 Years Since Trayvon Martin’s Death

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It’s been seven years since the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. George M. Johnson talks about what has happened to this country in those seven years and the work we still have ahead of us.

Episode 9: Jussie Smollett’s Indictment Should Not Make Us Doubt Hate Crime Victims

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In the wake of Jussie Smollett being indicted for filing a false police report in connection with the racist and homophobic assault he allegedly endured, George reminds everyone that hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community are very real and victims should be believed.

Episode 8: Political fundraiser, Ed Buck Spotted with yet Another Black Man


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Over the past 18 months, two gay Black men have been found dead in the home of wealthy Democratic donor Ed Buck. He has not been charged with any crimes. George talks about what it means that Buck was seen with a young Black man just this month.

Episode 7: Reaction to Jussie Smollett’s GMA Interview

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Jussie Smollett recently gave his first interview since he was attacked last month in a violent, racist, homophobic assault. George offers his reaction to Smollett’s statements and how this impacts the LGBTQ+ community.

Episode 6: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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George acknowledges National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and offers up statistics and  resources available for the Black community. He also shares his thoughts on Donald Trump‘s comments about HIV/AIDS during the State of the Union address.

Episode 5: Terry Crews & How Black Men Fit into the #MeToo Narrative

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Last weekend, actor Terry Crews and comedian DL Hughley traded jabs on social media about Crews’ sexual assault at the hands of a high powered Hollywood honcho. George lays out the multi-faceted ways that Black men have impacted the #MeToo movement.


EPISODE 4: Jussie Smollett’s Assault is the Latest Example of How Dangerous America can be for the Black LGBTQ Community

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George explains why the homophobic and racist assault of actor Jussie Smollett on the streets of Chicago was terrible, but unfortunately not surprising. The attack on Smollet is just the latest example of how dangerous it can be to be in the Black LGBTQ community in America.


Episode 3: The Latest Round of R. Kelly Apologists are Committed to Dying on This Hill

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On this episode, George talks about the latest round of artists who seem to be supportive of R. Kelly even in the wake of the explosive Lifetime documentary. Erykah Badu, Da Brat and Meshell Ndegeocello have seemingly all found their hill. Find out what George thinks about that.

Episode 2: Is this Gillette Ad the Best a Man Can Get?

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Shaving instrument manufacturer Gillette went viral at the top of 2019 with a new commercial that highlights the many ugly sides of toxic masculinity and offers up some advice to men on how prevent and diffuse harmful situations. Some men felt the ad was a negative portrayal of men in general while others praised the commercial for tackling a major issue head on. George? Well, his commentary doesn’t fall neatly into either of those categories.

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EPISODE 1: New Year, New Transgender Murder

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The new year has barely begun and yet we are already mourning the death of 31-year-old Dana Martin. Her untimely demise is believed to be the first murder of a transgender person in 2019. George tackles this sobering news in the first installment of his new video op-ed series Wake Up With George. In this segment, George breaks down the horrifying statistics on transgender murder and he also highlights the specific vulnerability of Black transgender women like Dana Martin.


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