Monday, January 31, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: The Underground Girls of Hip-Hop

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

While most of the folks in our community are familiar with hip-hop as a form of entertainment, many of us are not aware that the strongest opportunities actually lie on the business side. We also know that on both sides of the mic, women are usually missing. Sure, there are great female artists like Nicki Minaj and spoken-word artist Madam Prezident. Those who establish the platforms, obtain financing and run the business operations that lie behind your favorite artist have access to both the power and financial benefits that come with the hip-hop music industry. So, hanging out in the booth may not be as valuable as going to business school when it comes to having real power in hip-hop. It is for that reason that Shylise "Shay Nutt" Simpson is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:

1) What is your name and what do you do?
Shylise "Shay-Nutt" Simpson, Owner and operator of, 2010-2011 Female Hip Hop Honors Awards and Founder of the Power In Pink Mentoring Program.

Click to read.

Kelley Williams-Bolar Update: Kelley Meets with Rev.

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I figured that I would share an update to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the mother of two who was given jail time for sending her kids to a school outside of their home district.  This week, Williams-Bolar met with both Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev.  Al Sharpton about her case, appearing with me and her attorney on Rev. Jackson's show this past week.  Rev. Sharpton and I are planning a rally for Kelley in Ohio soon, but the rally is not focused on just one person.  Instead, the focal point is on the educational system in its entirety and why there are millions of moms across America being forced to break the law in order to help their children get access to a quality education.

I heard about Kelley's case through one of my Facebook friends.  Her case had been in court for years with no resolution, and not enough people had heard about what this woman was going through.  I wrote about Kelley's case in a few venues and called national media contacts, hoping that this important issue could be brought forth for public discussion.  I am not in the business of doing individual crusades when it comes to the criminal justice system, since I don't have the resources to help with every case that comes across my email inbox.  I get several cases in my email every single day, and while I wish I could help everyone, it's impossible without significant amounts of funding (I still have my day job, so I'm certainly not in this game for the money).  I chose to grab Kelley's case because it has clear national implications about a failed public school system that continues to destroy the futures of our children on a regular basis.  In fact, I dare say that if the only person who is helped in all this is Kelley Williams-Bolar, then we have failed ourselves, our children and our country.

Click to read.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shooting of Black Athlete DJ Henry Leads to $120M Lawsuit

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The shooting of Pace University football player DJ Henry has set off a great deal of controversy in the town of Pleasantville, New York, where Henry was shot outside a nightclub. According to police, Henry drove his car toward one of the officers, who claims that he had to fire on the athlete in order to save his own life. Accounts of what happened that night are varying, and DJ's family has filed a $120 million lawsuit against the Pleasantville Police Department over the incident. Attorney Charles Oglegree from Harvard University is representing the family of Brandon Cox, a friend of Henry's who was also shot that night.

The incident began on the night of October 17, when police were called to investigate a disturbance outside a bar in the suburb of Thornwood, which is located right near the Pace University campus.


Click to read.

Facebook Speaks: Has Church Become A Purely Social Function?


On his facebook page, Dr. Boyce Watkins made the remarks below.  The responses then came pouring in.

Boyce Watkins

Has anyone noticed that some of the people who are quickest to show up to church every Sunday (other days too), and quote the bible in every other sentence sometimes lead the most trifling personal lives? If you're living foul and not embodying Christian values in how you live your everyday life, then what's the point in going to church? Has church become more of a social exercise than a spiritual one?

about an hour ago · Like · Comment

Click to read more.

48-Year Old Herschel Walker and His Amazing Athletic Comeback

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

He came, he saw, and he conquered. Herschel Walker, the man who was once known for being a jack of all trades, dominated his first opponent in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition. The fight was against Scott Carson, the poor guy that Walker obliterated with a left hook in the first minute of fighting. After knocking Carson to the ground, Walker continued to pound away on him until the referee stopped the fight.

Walker's return to public competition at the age of 48 is nothing short of inspirational. The man who once said "My body is like an army" has proven it to the public by doing what many thought would be impossible. In addition to MMA fighting, Herschel has excelled in quite a few other sports as well: Walker is the only college football player in NCAA history to be listed in the top three in Heisman voting for all three years he was in college. He finished 7th in the 1992 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled. He nearly made the Olympic team as a sprinter. He is a fifth-degree black belt. He even did ballet.


Click to read.

Barack Obama First Dem Prez Since Truman To Not Mention Poverty in State of the Union Address

by Charles Blow, New York Times

President Obama made history on Tuesday.

It was only the second time since Harry S. Truman’s State of the Union address in 1948 that such a speech by a Democratic president did not include a single mention of poverty or the plight of the poor.

The closest Obama got to a mention was his confirmation for “Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear” that, indeed, “the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real.” I’m sure they appreciated that.

The only other Democrat not to mention poverty in the speech was Jimmy Carter in 1980, but even he was able to squeeze in one reference to at least a portion of the poor and disenfranchised, stressing the continuation of jobs programs to “provide training and work for our young people, especially minority youth.” (Carter did mention the poor in a written version that he submitted to Congress.)

Click to read.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Questions about the Kelley Williams-Bolar Case: Dr. Boyce and George Kilpatrick Discuss

Note from Dr. Boyce:  Before listening to my interview with George Kilpatrick about the Kelley Williams-Bolar case, I had two questions:

1) Would her kids have been allowed in that school if they’d been two 6’5”, 220-lb basketball players?  I’m sure they would have made an exception.

2) Its interesting that the judge wanted to send her to jail for her crime, but there are Wall Street execs who got less time for stealing millions.

The interview is here if you want to listen.

Dr. Boyce and Rev. Jesse Jackson Discuss the Fundamental Problems with the Economy



Click here to listen to Dr. Watkins and Rev. Jackson’s conversation about the state of the American economy.

Tracy Morgan’s Ill-Timed and Embarrassing Remarks on TNT

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Turner Network Television took the interesting step of apologizing for lewd remarks on the network made by comedian/actor Tracy Morgan.  During an interesting back and forth with Charles Barkley in which they were debating the “hotness” of Sarah Palin, Morgan said the following:

"Now let me tell you something about Sarah Palin man, she's good masturbation material. The glasses and all that? Great masturbation material."

Of course my own jaw dropped when I heard what Morgan said, and you could see the white guy on the scene, Ernie Johnson, rushing to get Morgan off-camera.  Everyone was clearly nervous after Morgan’s remarks, for good reason.  A lot of jobs were on the line as the words leaked out of his mouth.

Click to read.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Terry McMillan’s Attack on Will Smith’s Kids Was Entirely Off-Base

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was surprised to see the esteemed author Terry McMillan slip to an all-time low by attacking the children of Hollywood power couple Will and Jada Smith. Using Twitter as her forum of choice, McMillan expressed her concern that the Smith kids were being "pimped and exploited" by their parents in their acting and singing careers. "It feels like the Smith children are being pimped and exploited. Or, they're already hungry for fame. What about 4th grade?" said McMillan
McMillan then went on to write the following:
"The Smith children already act like child stars. There's an arrogance in their demeanor and behavior. I find it incredibly sad."
Of course the entire world spread McMillan's words quicker than wildfire. That then led to an apology from McMillan:
"I apologize for using the word pimp and exploit in referring to the Smith children. It was insensitive of me and wrong."

Click to read.

Study Says NFL Players More Likely to Misuse Pain Killers

by Dr. Boyce WatkinsThe Athlete Liberation Academic Reform Movement (ALARM)

According to a new study in a scientific journal, retired NFL players misuse opioid pain medication at a rate that is four times greater than the general public. The study goes on to connect the abuse to the number of pain killers athletes take during their playing days in the NFL. The results were published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a peer-reviewed academic journal.
The study was conducted by scholars at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It is also the first study conducted on pain killer misuse by former players. Linda Cottler, a professor of Epidemiology in the school's Department of Psychiatry led the study and it was also commissioned by ESPN.


Click to read.

Bishop Eddie Long Does His First Interview

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Bishop Eddie Long has returned to the public eye. In his first interview since thesexual misconduct allegations were levied against him, Long spoke with Channel 2 News in Atlanta. Of course the media was told that Long would not answer questions about the allegations, but hearing him speak in public was a media attraction nonetheless.
The event was the Trumpet Awards prayer breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. When answering questions, Long only spoke about hope, the future and other relatively vague, light-hearted issues. The mood appeared to be positive, as Long was given an optimistic reception from those in the audience, as well as Corey "CoCo Brother" Condrey, the radio personality who
introduced Bishop Long to the crowd.


Click to read.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., Dr. Boyce Watkins, Support a Constitutional Amendment on Equal Access to Education

Quick note from Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

I just spoke with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.  He's proposing a constitutional amendment that guarantees all children access to an equal and high quality education.  Congressman Jackson and I will discuss this on the Rev. Jesse Jackson radio show Sunday morning.  As any FYI - it was the broader issue that got me involved with Kelley Williams-Bolar's case.  It was not a crusade for just one person.

Dr. Boyce on AC360 – The Kelly Williams-Bolar Case and His Rally with Al Sharpton

Click to watch Dr. Watkins on AC360 discussing the case of Kelly Williams-Bolar, the black mother sent to jail for sending her kids to the wrong school district

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dr. Boyce on AC360 Tonight at 10:30 pm EST

Kelley Williams-Bolar is escorted through the Summit County, Ohio, jail last week.

Kelley Williams-Bolar is escorted through the Summit County, Ohio, jail last week.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360°, we'll look at the case of an Ohio woman who was jailed for tampering with records to get her two daughters into a better school.

Kelly Williams-Bolar, 40, got out of jail yesterday, having served nine days of her 10-day sentence. Now she faces two years of probation and 80 hours of community service

Here's the back story: Williams-Bolar, a single mom living in public housing in Akron, used her father's address to register her two daughters approximately seven miles away in the Copley-Fairlawn school district.

Williams-Bolar, and her father, maintained that the girls did live with her in Akron and their grandfather part of the time. But the Copley-Fairlawn school district claimed it was all lies. They said they spent $6,000 for a private investigator to track Williams-Bolar. The district also said she should have paid $30,000 in out-of-district tuition.

Critics said the school district and the judge went too far. They said had Williams-Bolar been white she never would have been prosecuted.

Others are applauding the school district's actions. They say Williams-Bolar knowingly ripped off taxpayers.

Williams-Bolar was  a teacher's aide at a high school in Akron and working toward a teaching degree. Now that she has a felony conviction she not be able to teach.  She's planning to appeal her conviction.

We'll talk about the public uproar with Dr. Andre Perry, CEO of the UNO Charter Schools and Dr. Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University professor and Resident Scholar of AOL Black Voices. We'll al


Click to read.

U Texas Signs a $300M Deal on the Backs of Its Athletes

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The University of Texas just inked a $300 million television rights deal for a 24-hour network that will broadcast Longhorn athletes and games. ESPN is the partner in the deal and will distribute the network via satellite in Texas and other states around the country. The network is expected to launch in September.
Given that college athletes are serving as the foundation for massive wealth being generated by schools like the University of Texas, it is time that we consider allowing these athletes to have the same labor rights as other workers who generate wealth around the nation. The United Steel Workers Union has actually spoken out on behalf of NCAA athletes, stating that they should have the right to unionize to ensure that their families can benefit from the wealth being created in these massive financial deals.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce Watkins on – 1/27/11

Kelley Williams-Bolar Update: CNN, ABC News and Other National Media Get Involved

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Most of us at Black Voices are familiar with the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to the "wrong" school district. Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years probation and community service for using her father's address in order to avoid sending her kids to the school she considered to be dangerous and inadequate. At AOL Black Voices, we were one of the first to hit the issue nationally, and fortunately, other media outlets are starting to take notice.

In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar and her father are being charged with fourth degree grand theft of school services. As a consequence of her conviction, Williams-Bolar can never use the teaching degree that she is working on right now. The judge also made it clear that she was sending Williams-Bolar to jail as an example to be shared with any other parents thinking about doing the same thing.
The case sparked a firestorm of national controversy and conversation about educational inequality and the notion that a mother had to break the law in order to give her daughters access to a quality education. Millions of parents around the nation expressed support for Williams-Bolar, for they too could recall their own parents making the same sacrifices for them. There have been Facebook groups created to support Williams-Bolar and has created a petition on her behalf to have her record expunged. The petition drew nearly 20,000 signatures over a three day period, and is growing by the second.

Click to read.

How to Help Kelley Williams-Bolar: Representatives You Can Contact

kelley williams-bolar


Kelley Williams-Bolar is the woman who was sent to jail in Akron, OH for sending her kids to the wrong district.  If you’d like to help her and make the broader and important point about educational inequality in America, please take the time to send a short note of concern to the state representatives in the area.  The information is below:

For Summit County (the county that Akron is in) the state representatives are:
Lynn Slaby (Republican):
Kristina Roegner (Republican):
Todd McKenney (Republican):
Vernon Sykes:
Zack Milkovich (Democrat):

House members website:
The state senator for that area is Frank LaRose (Republican):
Senate members website:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wilmer Leon Analyzes the State of the Union

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon

President Barack Obama was under pressure to satisfy many different constituencies in his second State of the Union address last night. Some liberals wanted the president to support government-matching 401(k) contributions in order to promote saving; others wanted him to address gay-rights legislation; still others urged a ban on large gun clips, or deep cuts in the defense budget.

Instead the president chose to set a tone rather than an agenda. Other presidents have been able to unveil sweeping policy initiatives in the annual address. But President Obama is faced with an ideologically driven opposition that has made clear its intention to oppose him at every turn. At the same time, the president is also facing a historic shift in technological and global economic realities that is remaking the world as we have come to know it.

Click to read.

Flava Flav Sells Fried Chicken and Liquor – Not a Surprise at All

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Last year, at the "Measuring the Movement" forum, hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, I had a chance to sit next to Chuck D from Public Enemy. I found Chuck to be as impressive, interesting and intelligent as he is on television. He also didn't give off the mind-numbing, stomach-turning, arrogant celebrity vibe that I see all too much. I was thoroughly impressed.
While I feel that I have some understanding of Chuck D, I simply cannot say the same for Flava Flav. Flava almost seems to come out of a different time, place, and perhaps even another planet, from the rest of us. He would have been great in the 1920s, when black performers could make a fortune by embracing ignorant stereotypes and engaging in ridiculous behavior. Flava seems to relish his role as the cultural clown, reminding all of us of exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King did NOT want our children to become.

Click to read.

Could 50 Cent’s Twitter Exploits Land Him in Jail?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The rapper 50 Cent is known as much for his creative PR and business tactics as he is for the rhymes he once busted on the airwaves. Well, I guess he is still technically a rapper, but the music side of 50 Cent’s career doesn’t seem to be taking off like it did at the start of the decade.

Since his last hit record, 50 Cent has been involved in a series of business ventures that seem to pay him better than he was ever paid as an artist. The problem for Fifty is that he might be in trouble with theSecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for using his power tohaul in $8.7 million by pushing a stock on his Twitter page.

50 Cent has 3.8 million Twitter followers who apparently respect him for his investment advice. The rapper tapped into his massive market power by telling all of his followers about a stock that he owns called H&H Imports. In fact, 50 Cent owns quite a bit of the stock after acquiring 30 million shares in a private placement last October.

click to read.

Tea Party Candidate Thinks Founding Fathers Ended Slavery

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


You would presume that with all of their citations of the Constitution and remembrance of the founding fathers, Tea Party candidates would understand history at least a little bit. But that's apparently not the case with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) who said that the founding fathers ended slavery in the United States.
In a recent speech in Iowa, Bachmann said that it was "the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States....Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."

The problem for Bachmann is that John Quincy Adams died in 1848, 15 years before slavery was abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation. Also, most of the founding fathers did own slaves, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, one of the signers, James Monroe, executed 30 of his slaves after they tried to revolt for their freedom. George Washington also had teeth implanted into his mouth that were taken out of the mouths of his slaves.


Click to read.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Terry Harrington: 25 Years for a Murder He Didn’t Commit

Click to watch the video about the case of Terry Harrington, a former highschool football standout who served 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: From Harlem to Harvard – Giselle Marcus Sets the Standard

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was impressed with Gisele Marcus from the very first day we spoke. She has enough energy to light up Las Vegas and an intense drive to succeed in corporate America. She has done assignments around the world, most recently in South Africa, and has been identified as a rising star in executive circles. She also came from humble beginnings, growing up in a single parent household in Harlem, with a mother who pushed hard for Gisele to have a better life. In fact, her mother's story reminded me of that of Kelly Williams-Bolar, the woman was sent to jail for sending her kids to a school outside their district. I don't care what the law says, there's nothing unethical about a mother fighting to give her children hope for the future. Just like the days of slavery, there remain systemic barriers to keep our kids away from opportunity, but also like our ancestors, good mothers don't allow anything to keep us away from our dreams. It is for her dogged pursuit of excellence and the remarkable example she sets for young black women that Gisele Marcus is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices.


Click to read.

Joan Rivers Refers to Michelle Obama as “Blackie O”

Click here to listen

Monday, January 24, 2011

Man With the Golden Voice Works Hard to Throw Away His Opportunities

Click here to watch Ted Williams, “The Man with the Golden Voice” as he continues to struggle with addiction.

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: Black Scholars in Computer Science

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

While many of us know who the leading black basketball and football players happen to be, we are rarely exposed to the leading Computer Scientists, Mathematicians and Physicists. Most importantly, most of us don't know that there is an entire organization of African American male PhDs called "Brothers of the Academy" who do scholarly work in a multitude of important fields. The media would be quick to feature these men if they were committing crimes, busting rhymes or dunking basketballs, but black males should be more readily celebrated when we are hitting the books, working our butts off and establishing sustainable institutions within the black community.
Ladies and gentleman, meet Professor Juan Gilbert. I've observed Juan as President of Brothers of the Academy for the past several years, and I can say with complete certainty that he is one of the most focused, dedicated, reliable and capable leaders in black America today. Juan not only runs BOTA, but he has also raised millions to fund his own computer science lab at Clemson University and at even before the age of 40, has served as the "academic father" for a large number of black Computer Science PhDs. It is for that reason that Professor Juan Gilbert is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:


Click to read.

Update: Rahm Emanuel Taken Off the Ballot for Chicago Mayor

News update

Rahm Emanuel has been thrown off the ballot for Mayor in Chicago.  The court has ruled that Emanuel is ineligible to run for mayor of Chicago because he was not a resident of the city for a full  year.  This will open the door for Carol Moseley Braun to make a serious charge for the position that many had argued to belong to Emanuel from the beginning.

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton discussed the matter on Sharpton’s national radio show, “Keeping it Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.”  Both agreed that it would be a game changer. 

GA Prison Strike Update: Coalition’s Open Letter to the Governor Lists Demands from the Department of Corrections



Steering Committee

Edward DuBose, Co-Chair, Georgia State Conference, NAACP

Elaine Brown, Co-Chair, National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform

Ajamu Baraka, U.S. Human Rights Network

Chara Fisher Jackson, ACLU of Georgia

Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, The Ordinary People Society

Richard Muhammad, Nation of Islam

Robert Rooks, NAACP


January 5, 2010

Via Facsimile and Hand Delivery

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Governor of Georgia

State Capitol

Atlanta, Georgia

Mr. Nathan Deal

Governor-Elect of Georgia

State Capitol

Atlanta, Georgia

Mr. Brian Owens

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Corrections

Atlanta, Georgia


Pursuant to our agreement at the meeting of December 17, 2010, between the Department of Corrections and our Coalition, an ad hoc group of hundreds of civic and political organizations around the nation advocating for and acting on behalf of thousands of Georgia prisoners who initiated a mass, non-violent protest in numerous Georgia prisons on December 9th last to redress their grievances over violations of their human rights by the Department, we hereby urgently request another meeting with the Department with respect to the following:

· Establishment of a timetable for negotiations between the Department and prisoner representatives, including members of the Coalition, to address the prisoners’ specific demands, which we officially reiterate here:

1. A Living Wage For Work

2. Educational Opportunities

3. Decent Health Care

4. An End To Cruel and Unusual Punishments

5. Decent Living Conditions

6. Nutritional Meals

7. Vocational And Self-Improvement Opportunities

8. Access To Families

9. Just Parole Decisions

Click to read more.

Mike Tomlin’s Big Win is a Huge Win for Diversity in the NFL

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Anyone watching with pride as the Pittsburgh Steelers fought their way to yet another Super Bowl likely heard a few interesting facts about their general on the field, Mike Tomlin. Tomlin, at the age of 38, is the youngest head coach to ever lead two teams to the Super Bowl. Before that, he was the youngest head coach to win a Superbowl. He does this while sitting at the helm of a storied franchise that has more Super Bowl wins than any team in NFL history. In other words, the man is a serious beast.
Tomlin's feats are not just impressive for a black coach, they stand above nearly any coach in NFL history. It is equally ironic that he is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose owner was responsible for opening the door for black coaches to get a chance in the league. Steelers owner Dan Rooney helped to create the Rooney rule, requiring NFL teams to interview African Americans for head coaching and senior administrative positions.


Click to read.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live.  Kelly Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately.

The jury deliberated for seven hours and the courtroom was packed as the sentence was handed down.  She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with their father when they actually lived with her.  The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the father’s address was in nearby Copley Township.

Additionally, Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls.  The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition. 


Click to read.

Mother Accused of Kidnapping Newborn 23 Years Ago Turns Herself in to Authorities

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The search is over for the woman who allegedly raised a child for 23 years after she was kidnapped as an infant. Ann Pettway turned herself in to authorities in Bridgeport, Connecticut and is due to appear in court in New York to face kidnapping charges.
Pettway is being accused in the kidnapping of Carlina White (pictured above) when she was only 19 days old. White found her birth mother after finding out that she was listed on a missing persons website. She also found it suspicious that her "mother" could not produce a copy of her birth certificate.
White was taken from a hospital in Harlem as a newborn after her real mother took her to the doctor for a fever. After being kidnapped, she was raised as Nejdra Nance in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
White was excited about reuniting with her family back in New York.
"I'm so happy," she said. "At the same time, it's a funny feeling because everything's brand new. It's like being born again."


Click to read.

Does Steve Harvey’s Wife Have the Right to Devalue Him as a Relationship Guru?


Steve Harvey’s ex-wife Mary has decided to break her silence about her estranged husband.  In a series of three shocking videos, Mary goes into detail about Steve’s affairs and seems to imply that Harvey has no business writing a book about relationships.  There is even a letter below from one of Steve’s mistresses that puts the “relationship guru” on blast:

Click to read more.

Dr. Boyce Watkins’ articles on AOL Black Voices

What has Dr. Boyce been writing about this year?  Click here to read Dr. Watkins’ articles on AOL Black Voices 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: Fighting for the Rights of Fathers

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

One of the most difficult, stunning and defining experiences of my entire life was when I went through the child support system. My daughter was born when I was an 18-year old freshman in college, and although I didn't want her mother to leave me for another man, I still knew that I had a responsibility when it came to taking care of my kids. So, I did what I was supposed to do, signed the papers where necessary and paid tens of thousands of dollars in child support over the next 18 years, even when it emptied out my bank account.

What surprised the heck out of me was that while the courts were always quick to threaten me with jail time if I'd chosen not to pay my child support, they showed almost no concern regarding whether or not I had the right to see my daughter. There was also no accountability regarding where my money was going and if those funds were being used to manage the needs of my child. I found myself increasingly frustrated by both my experience and also the broader perception of all black male non-custodial parents as dead beat dads. The truth is that while there are far too many dead beats, there are also fathers who've been victimized by parental alienation or an overzealous mother who feels that she can dictate every dimension of the father/child relationship. The mere implication that black males love their children any less than other people is a clear and stereotypical insult to our humanity.

Click to read.

As Keith Olbermann Leaves NBC, Will They Consider a Black Replacement?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Apparently, eight years has been enough for both MSNBC and Keith Olbermann. The network announced Friday that this is the end of Olbermann's tenure with the network and that he is moving on immediately:
"MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract," according to a statement issued by the network. "The last broadcast of 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."
Olbermann addressed his departure from the network on air, starting off with a story about his time with ESPN many years ago:


Click to read.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Condoleeza Rice asked “Why Are You Not Married”: One Black Writer Cringes

Piers Morgan Interviews Condoleezza Rice

by Alexis Stodghill, AOL Black Voices

Condoleezza Rice, the first black woman to become a U.S. Secretary of State, was interviewed recently on the newly minted CNN show, 'Piers Morgan Tonight,' to be asked of all things: Why are you not married? That question no successful African American female can escape. The single, black (semi-successful) woman that I am couldn't help but shrink in insecurity as this ubiquitous puzzler was posed even to one of the most prominent black women alive. Why the embarrassment?
Yes, such questions make for great ratings. It's a question Piers Morgan might have asked any single V.I.P. Watching a woman who used to wield massive diplomatic and military power talk of cooking fried chicken was a hoot. But despite the innocence of the utterance, for black women everywhere that question is the articulation of aGreek tragedy-style family curse: An unsolvable source of suffering for black women that just keeps getting passed down. Piers may not have known that, but refering to it even obliquely is enough to make one's heart hurt.


click to read.

What Obama Needs to Say to Black America in the State of the Union Address

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Next week's State of the Union Address to be offered by President Barack Obama comes at a time when our nation is especially divided, and our future as a country is foggier than it has been in recent memory. The event that will be on everyone's mind is the attempted assasination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from an assassin's bullet in the hospital right now. The Giffords shooting has slowed down the most extreme Republican rhetoric for the moment, but it certainly has not ended the animosity shown toward President Obama.

While President Obama must contend with the Republicans, he must also deal with a wide variety of special interest groups, all expecting something in return for their loyalty. With well over 90 percent approval ratings, no group has been more steadfast and committed to President Obama than the African American community. Therefore, as we seek to determine what our community should expect from the State of the Union address being given this week, we have every right to demand what is best for us.

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Second Graders Caught Engaging in Oral Sex in the Classroom



You have to wonder what the world is coming to when second grade children are caught engaging in oral sex with the teacher present in the classroom.   Markham Elementary School in Oakland, CA is seeking answers as one of their children told an adult staff member about what occured.

Senator Says Obama Should be Pro-Life Just Because He’s Black



by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is a principled and ambitious man.  His career took off during the 1990s with a far Right Wing platform and his constituents seemed to love him.  In spite of his staunchly conservative disposition, Santorum seemed like the kind of guy who could one day (unsuccessfully) tap at the door of the White House, assuming that he didn’t make any major mistakes.   But then again, we all know what they say about assumptions.

In a recent interview with CNS News, Santorum made the latest of a series of serious political errors by invoking race into the debate over abortion.  In reference to President Barack Obama, Santorum said the following: “The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the constitution?  And Barack Obama says no. Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”

So, it appears that Santorum thinks that because Barack Obama is black, he should automatically be pro-life.  I’ve seen this sort of argument on billboards and in private conversations, when pro-lifers drum up conspiracy theories about how Planned Parenthood is strategically located to abort as many black babies as possible.  In his version of the racialized abortion argument, Santorum seems to be implying that because blacks were once considered to be three-fifths of a human being, we should be concerned about an undeveloped fetus not having rights to citizenship.  

To be clear, I am not a fan of abortion, and I also do not buy into the “It’s my body so I can abort when it’s convenient” argument frequently used by some pro-choice Americans.  I find it ironic that killing a newborn baby is considered to be a heinous crime, but aborting one fetus after another barely gets a second thought.  At the same time, pounding us over the head with the bible and using Jedi mind tricks to get black people to support their cause makes some in the pro-life camp look silly.  Those of us in the middle of the two extremes on abortion find ourselves both confused and manipulated on a regular basis.


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Was This a Suicide or a Lynching? The Mysterious Death of Frederick Jermaine Carter


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


The black community in Greenwood, Mississippi is on edge and angry after the death of Frederick Jermaine Carter. Carter, who was 26 years old, was found hanging from a tree in what authorities have labeled to be a suicide. But the community isn't buying the police's story and claim that he was actually murdered.
The Final Call is reporting on the death of Carter, and even Michael Pimbleton Jr., the mayor of Sunflower, Mississippi has said that there was more going on than meets the eye.
"This is 2010 and we still have Black people hanging from trees? They're saying he hung himself but I have doubt in my mind that he actually did that. That wasn't his character. This wasn't a suicide, this was a homicide," Mayor Pembleton said to The Final Call.
Carter was found on December 3, with his body hanging from an oak tree in North Greenwood, which is a predominantly white section of Leflore County. He actually lived in nearby Sunflower County, and North Greenwood is known as an area that black people are sometimes afraid to visit. Carter was with his stepfather, who said that he wandered off from an area in which they were both working.


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The Frugalista Teaches the Art of “Ballin on a Budget”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Natalie P. McNeal is onto something. Under the name "The Frugalista," she has come up with a set of concepts that allow us to balance our need to save with our desire to enjoy life. Black people, on average, tend to be first-class consumers, second-class savers and third-class investors, leading many of us to a life on the edge of financial ruin. Even those of us who have high incomes can end up with debt up to our eyeballs and bills that we can barely afford to pay. So, when unemployment or financial crisis hits our households, we are the first to be bankrupt or in foreclosure.

The Frugalista lays out her own experience with debt and how she found a way to save money without forcing herself to live a Spartan life. She teaches that saving money should not be the only important thing in your life, but that financial responsibility can be a key to having a better life experience. It is for that reason that Natalie P. Mcneal is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Michael Steele: Republicans “Need a few more brothers in the house”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has continued to be outspoken in the name of the Republican Party. On a recent appearance on MSNBC, Steele went out of his way to note that he feels that he's helped to increase diversity within the ranks of the Republicans.
"What I tried to do [as chairman] was to broaden the landscape over which we could play, go into neighborhoods where we needed to be in, but hadn't been in generations, and I think it made a difference," he said. "I'm very happy with what we got done."
Matthews noted that he rarely sees African Americans gathering together at Republican conventions, and Steele responded by saying, "We could have used a few more brothers in the house, there's no doubt about that."
Steele was not reelected as the chairman of the RNC this week, being replaced by Reince Priebus after seven rounds of balloting. Steele believes that his fellow Republicans will work with President Obama if he leaves the door open to do so. "I really believe they will run with him on certain issues," Steele said.

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