top of page
The emotional cost of being a black woman in America | Monica Johnson | TEDxBloomington

The emotional cost of being a black woman in America | Monica Johnson | TEDxBloomington

Black women and southern trees suffer from a similar affliction. They are marked to be the tellers and bearers of truth in a world socially constructed to destroy them. Social justice educator, Monica Johnson explores the parallels of her identity development and the life and legacy of the great Billie Holiday. This talk uncovers the day that Monica comes to understand what being a Black woman born and raised in the American south truly affords her. Monica asks the audience to stop and listen to an uncomfortable truth about the burden that Black women are forced to carry. Monica uses the legacy of Billie Holiday’s world renowned performance of “Strange Fruit” to explain what great cost Black women pay to expose the world to the truth. --- --Live recording and post-production of this talk was done by Jon Stante Video Developer and Creator.-- For the entirety of her career, Monica Johnson has been active nationally in issues dealing with access and success in higher education. She has led many presentations and workshops centered on the recruitment, retention, and success of underrepresented students and marginalized professionals for a plethora of conferences (i.e. National Association for College Admission Counseling, The College Board, the ACT, The Center for Leadership Development - Indianapolis, and National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education). Monica proudly serves as a Chair of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). Monica received her bachelor’s degree in African and Diaspora Studies from Vanderbilt University, her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Mississippi College, and is currently completing her doctoral work as a Social Justice Fellow in Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University. Monica’s research centers on the existence, persistence, and resistance of Black women in American higher education, with an acute focus on other-mothering. Monica is the current university director of Diversity Education and Cross-Cultural Engagement and the director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at Indiana University Bloomington. In her current position at Indiana University, Monica works collaboratively with a variety of departments, student organizations, and community partners on the overall support and advocacy for underrepresented communities and the recruitment, retention, support, and success of Black students. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
bottom of page