Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Too Short and Intergenerational Black Male Dysfunctionality

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 


As a fan of hip-hop, I couldn’t help but appreciate the talent of the rapper Wiz Khalifa out of Pittsburgh.  Fresh off the release of his new album, “Rolling Papers,” Wiz appears to be on the top of the hip-hop world.  The first thing I thought about when I heard Wiz Khalifa’s style is that he sounded remarkably similar to artists of my generation, namely Snoop Dogg and Too Short.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce - Black Men in Prison: The New Jim Crow

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” according to Michelle Alexander, a law professor at The Ohio State University. Alexander is the author of an interesting new book called “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness.”

According to Professor Alexander, increases in crime rates do not explain the massive growth in black male incarceration that has taken place over the last 30 years.


Click to read.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chris Brown Goes Crazy at Good Morning America – Could He Get Locked Up?

Chris Brown leaves after an explosive argument at GMA.A smashed window at the "Good Morning America" studios in Times Square.;

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action

A couple of years ago, I went onto CNN to give measured support for Chris Brown as he was facing tremendous public scrutiny (much of it deserved) for his physical attacks on the singer Rihanna.  I wasn’t trying to say that Chris was a good person; instead, I was arguing that he was a young kid who is not beyond redemption.

The bottom line was that Chris Brown is not a monster.

After hearing about his outburst today on Good Morning America, I am starting to think that Chris might be determined to become a monster.  If he’s not a monster, he’s at least a damn idiot.

Click to read.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tyra Banks Heads to Harvard Business School

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Media superstar and modeling-model Tyra Banks recently announced that she's headed to the Harvard Business School. While it's still not clear if she's getting an official degree (I assume its a short-term executive education course; I can't imagine someone with her experience and schedule taking too much time off for school), one has to be impressed with her decision to continue educating herself. Some might think that education is simply a thing you tolerate long enough to make money to support yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth, since learning should be a lifelong process.

"I started last summer and I didn't really talk about it. It was very incognito, my name and everything, but I decided to talk about it [now]. I think it's a positive thing, especially for girls to see that you can still continue to educate yourself and you can still be fabulous and fierce and celebrate your femininity," Tyra said to MTV News.

Click to read.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ten Things that Every Black Dad Must Do for His Kids

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

1) Tell your kids you love them every single day

Love not only makes the world go round, but every person needs to feel loved in order to have the balance necessary to be truly successful. If you love your kids, don’t just show it with your actions, say it with words. It will keep them from seeking love in all the wrong places.

2) Set an example for other fathers

The black male gets a bad rap for allegedly being an irresponsible father. We know that this stereotype is a misguided reflection of America’s historical hatred of the black male, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t encourage each other to do a better job. Demand that other brothers in your circle stand up as good fathers to their children, in spite of their circumstances. It can be tough to be a good parent with sky high unemployment and incarceration rates, but that doesn’t give you an excuse not to try. Those of us who ignore our children should be shamed into realizing how harmful such irresponsibility is to our community.

3) Always find a way to show respect to their mother

Even if you can’t stand the woman you had a child with, you should always give her as much respect as you possibly can. Kids don’t enjoy watching their parents fight, no matter whose fault it is. Also, in spite of your differences, you must always find a way to show appreciation toward the woman who gave life to your offspring.

4) Prepare them for the bullsh*t

We know that being black isn’t easy. You have to be twice as good to get half as much and life sometimes kicks you in the butt when you don’t deserve it. Prepare your kids for life as an African American, letting them know that they are going to have to be tough, smart and courageous to succeed in a world where the odds can be stacked against them. We all know that life isn’t fair, and it’s important to make sure your kids are prepared for the coming disparities.

Click to read.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dr. Boyce: The Death of Nate Dogg is the End of a Very Dark and Creative Era in Hip-Hop

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

This morning I woke up to find out that Nathaniel D. Hale, better known as Nate Dogg, died last night (March 15).  The cause of death has not been announced.  But its easy to connect Nate Dogg’s death to the health problems that came from the massive strokes he suffered in 2007 and 2008. 

Nobody sang hooks like Nate Dogg.  Most of us can go back to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” album in the early 1990s as well as “Regulate” by Warren G to see where this brilliant artist set the game on fire.  I loved Nate Dogg, and I am going to miss him.  Nobody could run the chorus the way he could, for he had a voice that hip-hop will remember for the next 50 years.

On another note, I wonder how Nate Dogg’s early death was related to some of the self-destructive habits

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back in 2006 – Dr. Boyce in Madison Square Garden Arguing that College Athletes Should be Paid


Given that March Madness is about to begin, many around the country are wondering if it’s time to start paying college athletes.  Dr. Boyce Watkins appears below arguing that college athletes should be paid, and explains the reasons in Madison Square Garden in 2006 with Stephen A. Smith in attendance.

This is also a racial issue, since most of the individuals doing the work are black and those earning millions off of the labor are white.  The NCAA earns more money during March Madness than the Super Bowl and the World Series, so Dr. Watkins is a long-time advocate of college athletes having the same labor rights as everyone else.

Part 1 is above



Part 2 is above

Monday, March 14, 2011

Diddy Is the Richest Rapper Alive: How He Got That Way

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs has reached another milestone in his increasingly storied hip-hop career. This year,Forbes ranked Diddy as the wealthiest hip-hop artist in the world, with a net worth of $475 million. He was followed on the list by Jay-Z, who himself carries a net worth of $450 million.

Following Diddy and Jay-Z are Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Bryan "Birdman" Williams of Cash Money Records.

I wasn't surprised to see Diddy at the top of the list. His visionary style of corporate leadership is nothing short of iconic and legendary. The same is true for Jay-Z and other artists who made the list. What's most interesting to me about Diddy, to be quite frank, is that Sean is probably the worst rapper on the list of wealthy hip-hop artists. While we can easily point to major jams produced and sold by Jay-Z, Birdman, Dr. Dre and even Fifty Cent, Diddy hasn't put out hardly anything noteworthy since the death of the Notorious B.I.G. nearly 14 years ago.

Click to read.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Majority of African Americans Feel NAACP Image Awards Should Not Reward Negative Hip-Hop Artists

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In a recent survey taken at YourBlackWorld.com, over 83 percent of the black respondents said that the NAACP is off-base by nominating hip-hop artists such as Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, both of whom have used the N-word and lyrics that are derogatory toward women. In the survey, participants were asked the following question:
"The NAACP Image Awards recently nominated artists like Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, both of whom have used the N-word and lyrics which degrade women. Does this make the NAACP hypocritical?"
In response to this question, 83 percent of the 335 respondents said "Yes, these nominations are a contradiction to the message and image of the NAACP." Another 5.8% of the African American respondents said that the NAACP might be a bit hypocritical in their approach, but that giving awards to these artists helps to keep them relevant. Another 10 percent of the respondents said that the NAACP was not being hypocritical by nominating these artists.


Click to read.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

NAACP Gets Backlash for Promoting Negative Hip-Hop Artists

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Last night, I was up watching last year's Hip-Hop honors on Vh-1. I knew that it wasn't live, since the rappers T.I. and Gucci Mane weren't in jail. In fact, I find it interesting that I had to count and remember which artists were incarcerated out of the bunch, since it seems that hip-hop has now made it cool to go to jail, at least for a little while.
As a fan of hip-hop, I enjoyed the music being performed by various artists. I couldn't, however, help but be disturbed by trends that become more and more apparent to me as I get older. At one point, there were three "interesting" songs performed in a row, one by an artist by the name of "Bone Crusher," a second performed by Gucci Mane and a third performed by the Ying-Yang Twins. Bone Crusher rapped about "popping the trunk" and killing another "n*gga" who spoke to him disrepsectfully. To be more precise, the lyrics were as follows:
Let a choppa go PLOOOOOOWWW! to yo melon
Now the plasma is oozin outta yo cerebellum
AttenSHUNNNNN! F*ck n*gga, now you swellin
You ain't talkin hardcore, now is ya? Lil' b*tch!

Click to read.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Biggie’s Anniversary Gives Us Reason to Stop and Think

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

March 9, 1997 will forever go down in history as the day when the world lost one of it's most talented artists, the Notorious B.I.G. Biggie was "the man," dropping lyrics like no other, gaining respect all around the world. He was loved by the community, and his spirit continues to live in the world on the 14-year anniversary of the day that he died.
I loved both Biggie and Tupac when they were alive. Both of them were about my age, and I mourned with the rest of the world after hearing about their deaths. I can also say that, like nearly everyone else, I knew that both Biggie and Pac were going to die young. Both artists seemed to believe that the end was coming soon, which is a problem that is all too common among young African American males.
In the midst of the cultural cancer that impacts the lives of millions of young black men across America, we find that all too often young black men don't expect to become old men. Hip-hop has long existed as a venue through which the state of the black male is communicated, and in this arena, you find that there is consistent conversation about violence, homicide and the soldier-like suicidal mindset that these men must embrace in order to have a chance to keep breathing.


Click to read.

Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers: What It Takes to Change Hip-Hop Music

Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers lays out his theory on why hip-hop is so negative and self-destructive.  He argues that negative messages that black males share with one another are partly driven by the desire to put their social conscience to sleep.  Watch the video below, or you can see it by clicking here.



Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Black Male Incarceration Crisis – Dr. Marc Lamont Hill Interviews a Group of Panelists on the Topic


One of my very good friends, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, speaks to a panel about the mass incarceration crisis that is affecting black males.  Take a look.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Little Girls Who Struck a Blow for Women that Was Heard Around the World: Open Letter to Lil Wayne

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

They say that behind every great man, there's a great woman. Yes, this is true, but what people also forget is that behind nearly every empowered, intelligent and confident young woman, there are a collection of black male role models. The group Watoto from the Nile, featuring three little girls doing an open letter about Lil Wayne's disrespect for women has simply taken over the black Internet. The video had over half a million views in just six days, and keeps growing by the second. It was due to the vision of the group's young manager, Albert Phillips, that the little girls were able to strike the blow heard around the world when it comes to black women demanding their right to be respected. In fact, these children struck a blow to Weezy that no grown man could ever match. It is for that reason that Albert Phillips is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:


Click to read.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Racist Rap Video Makes Us All Wonder What Kids are Being Taught in School

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

A group of white students, who some believe are from Stuyvesant High School in New York, has gotten the Internet up in arms. Laying out admittedly solid freestyle skills over a smooth beat, the students continuously spew out the kind of racism that would make David Duke blush. To the surprise of some, Stuyvesant High School is considered one of the top high schools in the nation, but many are wondering what in the world they are teaching.
Apparently frustrated with their black classmates, the rappers use lyrics like "You so wack, b--, chilling in the projects. ....You black and you so f-– grimy. ... What'cha gonna do? Call your black squad n--?"
For over five minutes, the young artists continue to squeak out demeaning language toward people of color. The video is seemingly endless. The men also seem to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

Click to read.