Friday, June 27, 2008

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.

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