LGBT History Month 2022 October 6: Victor Blackwell, CNN News Anchor


born. September 25, 1981

“Sometimes it’s not cancellation. It’s just plain ol’ accountability.”

Victor Blackwell is an openly gay award-winning journalist, correspondent and CNN anchor.

Blackwell was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Millford Mill Academy, a public high school, where he was voted senior class president. He got his first taste of broadcasting, making the school’s morning announcements. Blackwell studied broadcast journalism at Howard University and graduated with honors. He interned at WHUT-TV, the university’s public television station.

Blackwell started his journalism career as a writer for the Community Times, a Columbia, Maryland, newspaper. He served as a producer for a Baltimore radio station, a co-producer for public television in Washington, D.C., and worked for Fox affiliates in California and Pennsylvania. He became a reporter and fill-in anchor for WHAG-TV in Hagerstown, Maryland, before moving to Florida, where he worked as a reporter and weekend anchor for WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville. At WPBF 25 in West Palm Beach, he became the first Black person to serve as the station’s main news anchor.

At WPBF, Blackwell was nominated four times for regional Emmy Awards, winning in 2009 for Outstanding Feature Reporting. He took home two Telly Awards and earned multiple honors from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. The Radio and Television Digital News Association presented him with both the Unity Award and the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award.

Blackwell left WPBF in 2012 to join CNN in Atlanta, co-anchoring the Saturday morning edition of “CNN Newsroom” and then the weekend edition of “New Day.” In 2020 he received an Emmy for Outstanding News Analysis for his commentary on President Donald Trump’s attack on Elijah Cummings, a Black Maryland congressman representing Blackwell’s home district. In yet another verbal assault on congress members of color, Trump derided Cummings’s district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Blackwell called out Trump’s racism.

Blackwell began co-hosting “CNN Newsroom” with Alisyn Camerota in 2021. In his 10 years at the network, he has covered a wide range of high-profile breaking news stories, including CNN’s Emmy-nominated coverage of the concurrent shoots in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas; the protests following George Floyd’s murder; and the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. In May 2022 he shed tears on air outside the supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where 10 Black people were killed and three wounded in a racist massacre.

Blackwell came out as gay on CNN in 2013. He is an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQ community.

In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month.

Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association and other national organizations. In 2006 Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBT History Month.