Monday, September 15, 2008

Boyce Watkins: Poem to the Black Male Athlete

Some of you may know that I have a creative side (i.e. my rap single that we released last week, which has gotten great reviews from radio DJs around the country - even though I am still growing as an artist....but yes, I really am a rapper, not a professor trying to rap: I don't fit easily into anyone's box. I've loved Hip Hop my whole life, especially Ice Cube, Spice 1, Tupac and TI). You might also know that I have been in an on-going academic battle with the NCAA over the fact that this organization extracts over $1 Billion dollars per year from the black community. As part of my role as a Faculty affiliate at the College Sports Research Institute at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, I plan to continue investigating ways that the compensation model can be one that allows the families of athletes to experience some of the rewards of this professional sports league.

To have fun with this, I wrote a poem that describes the experiences I've seen from black college athletes as I've taught at 5 major universities over the past 15 years. If you know me, you know I write from the heart, so this is based on what I've seen up close. I am hopeful that these words can provide insight to the mothers of black men who are allowing their sons to go through a system that has not worked very hard to educate them and works overtime to exploit them and their families. Sports is cool, but education is what stays with you for a lifetime. Please teach that to your children every single day.

The Big Brown Baller
by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I turned the TV on ESPN
I saw the Big Brown Baller again
The one who can jump straight out of the gym
Who scores 50 points and hangs on the rim
The latest great athlete of the NCAA
The next billion dollar asset they won't have to pay
The guy that's encouraged to skip out on class
To run the 40 yard dash for university cash
The Big Brown Baller was on lots of billboards
Coke and Toyota and WalMart and Ford
I hear the "cha-ching" as the college gets paid
Just call him piano, cause the boy is getting played
I'm a finance professor, so I'll ask like a geek
How can you put "students" on TV every week,
as they graduate slow, your cash flow will grow
And you never give that player a cut of the dough?
The player can't show me any stuff that he's got
But the coach told me that he just bought a new yacht
Some jewels for his cat, diamonds for his wife's ear
All owed to the fresh negroes he recruited last year
The Big Brown Baller wasn't doing so hot
His mom got evicted, his brother got shot
The NCAA came and put on the clamps
When he tried to buy groceries with his mama's food stamps
Some say that the athletes should never get paid
Free school for 10 million? Is that a fair trade?
If I were an athlete, I would most likely say
"F--k you, pay me" in a Goodfellas Way
One thing that I notice for the athletes in brown
I don't see many players in a cap or a gown
Schools make sure players show up for games on TV
But they don't make them show up to get a degree
Some say that the athletes are the reason for this
When I hear that same crap, I admit I get pissed
Do you remember when you took Tyrone out of my class
So he could go across country and throw the big pass?
If education was key in your time with Tyrone
You would have said "Miss the game and go study at home"
But with "voluntary" practices, you know the rule
He's not here to study, he's your garden tool
Excuse all my French, but that's the language I use
The phrase "student athlete" has been long abused
Their broke families give billions but take all the blame
When their children come home in a shadow of shame
The NCAA wears suits, but deep underneath
They're really just pimps with gold in their teeth
Making rules to fool fools talking nothing but jive
To keep their professional sports league alive
He hit the last shot, and after the game
The Brown Baller emerges, and it's more of the same
The coaches and corporates and little old men
Stand around him and chant "Boy you did it again!"
They rob money in buckets and release it in drops
There's a jacking in progress, so please call the cops
Each time a school makes free millions from play
They are in gross violation of the American way.
Don't believe me, just try it, let the players sit out
Is a boycott in order? I don't have any doubt
Without the brown ballers, you already know
No endorsements, no fans, no tv, no dough

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Snoop Dogg Raps in Bollywood

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Snoop Dogg's done Hollywood. Now he's moving on to Bollywood.

"Yo, what up. This Big Snoop Dogg. Represent the Punjabi. Aye ya, Hit em with this," the rapper says while introducing the title song to "Singh is Kinng," the Bollywood film that opens Friday.

Clad in a maroon slim-fitted Indian kurta and beige trousers and a diamond-studded turban, Snoop Dogg lounges on an oversized armchair draped with blue and pink silk alongside Akshay Kumar, the movie's lead star, in a video posted on the Internet by the producers, Cashmere Asia.

"I'm just a king sitting on my throne all alone, " Snoop Dogg raps, surrounded by energetic dancers in colorful headgear in a song peppered with rhythmic drum beats. "Singh is King. Singh is King. Snoop Dogg is also the King."

The video was shot over three days last month in Chicago.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rapper Lil Scrappy Stabbed and Locked up

Hip Hop star Lil Scrappy has been reportedly stabbed and then arrested./ He was jailed in Dekalb county for drug possession and the possession of deadly weapons. What is most interesting is that he was stabbed before being taken to jail.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Black People are Pathetic: Ask Barack Obama

Since everyone appears to be on the "black people have no personal responsibility" band wagon, I thought I would buy a ticket. I read some of the transcript from Senator Barack Obama's NAACP speech Monday, so I thought I would pick up the spoon and get myself a big fat dose of personal responsibility. After all, perhaps we should consider ourselves fortunate: We are the only group that presidential candidates visit and tell us all the things that are wrong with us. I should have figured it out long ago: everyone else is perfect, and we are just ficked up.

In fact, our fortune runs even deeper than we can imagine, since our presidential candidates have taken notes from the great Ronald Reagan and given us the privilege of looking past everyone else's flaws. We don't have to listen to our president lecturing white Americans on their 50% divorce and child abandonment rate: all that matters are the black men who don't get married. We don't have to listen to our presidential candidates talk about the hundreds of thousands of alcoholics, drug addicts and rapists being produced on college campuses every year: all that matters is that black men are the ones being sent to prison for drug possession. Finally, we don't have to listen to our president talk about how many conservative family politicians have been caught sleeping with every woman (or man, or little boy) on the block: all that matters is that black men need to keep their "thing" in their pants and black women need to stop opening their legs to every man who brings them a bag of Cheetos.

Nope: the personal responsibility speeches are all saved for us. I guess that's the benefit of being so pathetic. It's not like we don't need it. I saw several black boys on TV the other day getting arrested for stealing. I hate it when all those black boys steal. I mean, 100% of the black boys I saw on TV last week were stealing, which MUST mean that 100% of all black boys steal. The white kids I saw on the news were going to college. Why don't black men ever study like those kids? If it were not for the media, I wouldn't have a chance to see just how pathetic we all are. It's a national epidemic I tell you!

I really could use a speech on personal responsibility. Had it not been for my ability to manipulate the welfare system and get an extra check every month, I would never have been able to manipulate my way to a PhD. I am not sure how my trifling mama got a child into Cornell University, another in the Mayo Clinic and a third on the faculty at Syracuse University. If only that pathetic single black mother could have been more responsible. Perhaps then her children could have gone to Harvard like Senator Obama.

So, you black people, please listen: You need to simply accept the fact that you are screwed up and have no morals. Forget what everyone else is doing, your kids are lazy and worthless, and you've never learned the value of hard work in your lives. No, no, no. Stop mentioning all the corporate welfare that our government gives out every year to lobbyists, or the fact that millions of Americans (of all races) were begging for government welfare to save themselves from their mortgage crisis. That might be true, but this is about you: everyone else's government support is not the issue, it's not like you people pay taxes or anything. We would rather talk about the person I saw on The O'Reilly Factor last week who said that they get welfare so they can buy extra crack. See, like I said, black people have no morals.

The focus of this discussion is that if you you were not so weak and worthless, you would not have depression-era unemployment in your communities, we wouldn't have to pass you over for jobs and your black men would not be getting longer sentences for the same crimes. You think that America is being racist against you. Get a life. That racism excuse is old and tired. Everyone knows that racism doesn't exist. We support Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity because they are truly great Americans, unlike that afro-wearing loud mouth Jesse Jackson. It's not as if he's ever done anything important.

So, here's what I am trying to say to you people: Get off welfare and learn how to work. Stop whining about companies that haven't hired a black manager in 100 years. If you guys could actually do the job, then maybe they would give it to you. There is no reason to learn to love yourself, because who you are right now is pathetic. If only you black people could learn to be as perfect as the rest of America, you might just be OK. Thanks Senator Obama, I needed to learn my place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hip Hop v. America: Hip Hop Scholar Boyce Watkins on Barack Obama, CNN

Dr Boyce Watkins speaks on Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey on CNN.

This video was shot on CNN before Barack Obama became a powerhouse candidate for president. It appears that Dr. Boyce Watkins was on the money when mentioning back then that he would eventually challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hip Hop, Nas, Scholars Take on Fox News Racism, Black Hatred

Hip Hop is taking on Fox News. First, Nas created a diss record, and now Dr. Boyce Watkins is coming after them hard.

Friday, June 27, 2008

African American Scholar Boyce Watkins says Stop Hatin on Soulja Boy

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I see all the hatin that's been going on with Soulja Boy lately. I wrote an article on the topic earlier, since I saw some of the artists I grew up on getting real mad at the brother. I don't blame the brothers for getting upset on this, since Soulja Boy is definitely something different. I can't do the dances, and I don't want to do them. In fact, I would rather you cut off my testicles and feed them to the family dog.

But with that said, I have to hate on myself just a little bit. I grew up hard on West Coast music that we love so much: Ice -T, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, NWA, Spice 1 and Tupac. Is that really what we want our kids listening to? Let's be honest: the music we were bumping to in the 90s was some dangerous sh*t! Brothers got shot on every record, and being in the hip hop game was flat out crazy.

So, if I have a choice between teenagers dancing to punk-ass songs that sound like they were made on an ice cream truck vs. rapping about peeling each other's caps, I would rather our kids be safe and happy. To the OGs in the game: let it go. Times change. At the same time, we have to give the west coast more respect and start letting them have more spins nation-wide. West coast rap has always been, in the words of Ice-T, "The bastard child of hip hop". Well, Cinderella needs to go to the ball too, since the west coast rap game has some serious ballers.

As for Soulja Boy, let that young brother make his money, he was broker than the Ten Commandments last year and now he can provide for his family. Let the kids dance instead of kill each other, we don't want them ending up like Biggie and Pac.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College". He does regular appearances in national media, including BET, CNN, ESPN and CBS. For more information, please visit

Black Professor Boyce Watkins Speaks on Soulja Boy/Ice T Feud

Some might wonder why I have the desire to comment on the beef between Soulja Boy and Ice T. But I hope people remember that professors are also people, and I am not a Finance Professor who happens to be black, I am a black man who happens to be a Finance Professor. So, for those who don't like hearing me speak on hip hop, deal with it.

I get mixed up in some hip hop beefs every now and then, as I spent a lot of time providing perspective on the beef between Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Oprah Winfrey last year. I speak with a lot of artists when I go to Hot 97 and BET, and I enjoy talking to them about how to manage their money and get their finances straight within an industry that is quick to financially rape black men.

The beef between Soulja Boy and Ice T was interesting, as Ice T doesn't seem to feel that Soulja Boy is adding anything to hip hop. In his remarks, Ice T told Soulja Boy to "eat a ....." (no, it was not a cheeseburger). Soulja Boy came back hard, referring to Ice T as an "Old ass n*gga", among other things.

I can't disagree, Ice T is pretty old. I don't know too many rappers born in 1958. He's actually old enough to be Soulja Boy's grandfather. At the same time, elders must be respected, and few artists have this kind of staying power. Ice T printed game unlike any other before or after him, and that contribution must be respected. But respect must be earned, and I don't feel that Ice earned his respect with the way he came at Soulja Boy.

I wrote an article or two on the topic, but I won't go into that. But I can say that when I watched the commentary by Soulja Boy, I saw a confused kid. I saw a young man who was (in his words) "poor as hell" just a year earlier, trying to find a way to make a living for he and his family. He said that he had tremendous respect for Ice T, and I speculate that he would have wanted to hear an older person say "eat your vegetables", instead of "eat a .....".

I could tell that Soulja Boy was hurt by the criticism. But when a man comes that hard at you, you have to respond strongly like a man. I am sure that he would rather have seen Ice T reach out to him and (in his words) "give him some pointers". Instead, Ice T came with the attack first, rather than trying to communicate as a brother or father figure.

I respect Ice T and I know alot about him from my conversations with Wendy Williams at WBLS. He is an amazing talent and his wife Coco, beyond being a stripper, is actually the intellectual engine that makes his empire move. So, seeing such an astute, intelligent and talented man like Ice T come at a 17-year old kid in such a nasty way really shocked the hell out of me.

Ice T, you're a man and a true playa. Now, swallow your pride, pick up the phone and mentor this young kid. Part of being a man means being man enough to admit that you were wrong. Soulja Boy's insults to you were really a reflection of his pain and disappointment. Young people don't need our disses, they need our guidance. Now get to transmittin game.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice T: Teach Soulja Boy about the Industry


Short note from Dr. Boyce Watkins

I was thinking a little harder on this issue between Ice T and Soulja Boy.  One of the things that I have to agree with Ice on is that Soulja Boy's music is commercialized hip hop, not the style that Ice T and others are used to.  Ice has to remember, however, that he had his share of haters back in the 80s when he was the first to cuss on a record.  Alot of people didn't consider that to be hip hop either.

Secondly, if Soulja Boy's music is empty and commercialized, perhaps Ice T and others should be reminded that it is not the artist that decides what music is gonna get released, it's the executives at the label.  Soulja Boy was broke, and he couldn't afford to take a stand for "true hip hop" when he needed to feed his family.

Ice T needs to keep that in mind.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jay Z Named in reparations Lawsuit

The New York Observer is reporting that a Brooklyn activist has filed a $5 Billion dollar reparations lawsuit against Bruce Ratner, Barclays and Jay-Z. The suit claims that there should be a lien on their property and that the funds should go toward reparations.

The three defendants in the lawsuit are connected through an interest in the Atlantic Yards Project, taking place in Brooklyn. Ratner is planning to build 6,000 apartments and a new arena for the New Jersey Nets.

Campbell, in his lawsuit, claimed that Barclays and Jay-Z, working together, "profited from the African Slave Trade and continue to profit from these gains, through a conspiracy dating back hundreds of years and continue to date to oppress black people, enslave them, [and] unlawfully deport them to all corners of the Earth."

Campbell's group is called Da Black Defense League and they originally filed their suit back in October. Ratner's group has dismissed the lawsuit as being without merit.