George Lee of The Conscious Lee on Education and Empowerment Online
George Lee educates others online with his social media platforms and classes hosted through Conscious University. His goal? Empowering people from marginalized communities and educating everyone on their position within the system. Today, George Lee shares his experience building The Conscious Lee platform and being part of YouTube’s Black Voices Creator Class of 2022.
George Lee was born and raised in Bryan, Texas. He is a first-generation college student with a Bachelor’s degree in African & African American Studies, a Master’s degree in both Human Relations and Adult Higher Education, and Graduate Certificates in Women and Gendered Studies along with Human Resource and Diversity Development from the University of Oklahoma.
George is known for his incredible debating abilities and was named in the top 20 College Policy Debaters of the past decade.
The Start of Conscious Lee
After his daughter was born in 2015, George started taking his social media content seriously.
He shares, “I started off doing this corny little series. I call it Street Academics. I still have some videos up on my YouTube. It wasn’t as good as my videos are now, but it’s kind of when I started. My platform started really taking off when I stumbled across TikTok in 2019.”
Previously, he had about 5,000 followers on Instagram after years of hard work. However, TikTok quickly blew up for him. He has over two million followers on TikTok today.
“The full transparency is even though I started taking social media seriously after my daughter was born. I was only taking it seriously to try to get more bookings. I do facilitations. I do workshops. I do motivational speaking. I do curriculum design. That’s the reason why I started doing content.”
His Signature Content
George’s signature content is educational and centered around identity, sexuality, race, class, nationality, and language.
“Really my content is about empowering people that come from identities that have been marginalized or oppressed and thinking about power. So, I’m going to talk about all types of different cultures, all different understandings of gender, all different understandings about sexuality. I’m going to talk about white supremacy and anti-blackness and colonialism and disability.”
He shares that he hopes to impact people by increasing awareness, vocabulary, and a better understanding of how the world is currently structured.
When asked about viral content, George shares that his first two viral posts were about trans women. These videos were shared by celebrities online, and he gained over 20,000 followers overnight, which gave him a huge boost.
Did you know what the yellow flag means??♬ original sound – Conscious Lee
He notes that the extensive range of topics he covers, from race to sexism to disability to sidewalk politics, also gives people on social media many different reasons to follow him, which has helped his growth online.
When asked about what makes his content unique, George shares the following.
“I think what makes me unique is that I come from an intellectual background that’s grounded in the hood. That’s how I would say it… I know that when I speak and I speak with words that have five or six syllables and I speak about these high compound theories. Things usually seen as a black man from the hood ain’t supposed to be able to articulate and express in the way I do. And I recognize that kind of makes me unique.”
I said what I said♬ original sound – Conscious Lee
He adds that being a cisgender man from the hood who talks about LGBTQ+ and women empowerment also makes his content unique.
“The last thing is consistency… I’m consistent in giving analysis and then like, “I don’t really give a damn you feel me?” I’m a debater. I get what you get. I’m going to cuss a little bit.”
George shares that one of the most important things about educating others is making it accessible.
Unlike regular universities, Conscious University does not require an SAT or ACT score or a strong GPA to enroll. The fees are also significantly less than what most people sell classes for, making the courses more accessible.
In addition to his online courses through Conscious University, George offers various services, including workshops, professional development, diversity inclusion, and curriculum design.
“I offer a curriculum design and curriculum development whether you work in K-12 or higher education so curriculum that you want to improve, you want to make it more engaging, more educating, more entertaining, holler at me I’ll be able to get that right.”
YouTube’s Black Voices Creator Class of 2022
George was also a part of YouTube’s Black Voices Creator Class of 2022. He shares that it’s been a fantastic experience.
“It’s been a hell of an opportunity. I’ve been very grateful for the ways they’ve been able to teach me about… content curating and thinking about it from a business aspect. They’ve taught me about production. They’ve taught me about the backend business. They’ve taught me about taxes. They’ve taught me about management and agencies. They’ve taught me about telling a story.”
George shares that his favorite partnerships and campaigns are petitions.
“Another reason why I wanted to build a platform is because I felt like it was always stories and people that was getting messed over that didn’t get the particular attention they deserved because their identity didn’t fit with the mainstream interest.”
His favorite campaigns currently are media centered around controversy and tragedy. For example, content about trans women, which is regularly side-swept and ignored in traditional media.
The Creator Marketplace
When asked what he wants to see change in the creator marketplace, George shares that he wants to see more equitable work in the future.
He explains that social media is a highly lucrative industry, and the industry needs strong content creators. However, the industry holds much more power in terms of monetization at this point, leaving creators with less autonomy.
“It’s missing content creators being able to dictate more [of] the value around their labor and being able to get more of the pie when it comes to the promotion and advertising money being made on social media.”
For example, George shares that Instagram may charge him $5,000 for one million views to advertise his business. However, if you turn around, they only pay him $400 for five million views on his reels.
“So a lot of times it’s literally a content creator has a lot of followers and there’s going to be some dollars generated, but they’re not going to get it [an equitable share.] You see what I’m saying? And me coming from my background, that sounds like pimping… somebody is fixing to get you to stand right here and you going to do all the work, you going to be the one that looks beautiful.”
George shares that he just moved to Houston. In terms of future plans, he has some big announcements coming up within the next few weeks.
“I’m about to be doing content for The Young Turks…They’ve got a big YouTube and Facebook following. They’re like an independent news cycle.”
He shares that he’ll be creating five videos a week for The Young Turks, which he is very excited about.