Dr. Johnson is the mother of an incredible daughter, the wife of a musician, an activist, and an academic. An Associate Professor of African American Studies and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA and Associate Professor of Black Studies with affiliations in the Departments of History and Chicana/o Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Johnson writes and teaches on race and racism, cultural history, and political economy.
Her first book, Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles, published by the University of California Press, is a history of civil rights and spatial struggles among Black and Brown freedom seekers and cultural workers in LA. Johnson’s second book, entitled Women in Hip Hop: A Radical Herstory, is under contract with Haymarket Press.
Johnson has appeared in and consulted on several documentaries, including independent films about music and urban politics, as well as television programs for the BBC and the Biography Channel. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and a prolific public speaker. She is a former visiting researcher at Stanford University’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, as well as at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. Johnson is active with the Los Angeles Community Action Network’s (LACAN) struggle for housing and civil rights on LA’s Skid Row, and is the 2013 recipient of the Freedom Now! Award for her efforts.
Professor Johnson earned a B.A. in Sociology and Ethnic Studies from the University of California at San Diego, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.