Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NCAA President Agrees that Athletes Should Be Paid a Little More

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Every now and then, some families get to experience “that intervention moment.” This is when the uncle who’s been getting high, drunk and abusive every single day finally admits that he might have a problem. Of course he still minimizes the significance of his issues, but he has at least opened the door to getting the help that he needs.

For the American justice and economic systems, the NCAA is the addicted uncle. But rather than being hooked on drugs, the NCAA is addicted to the highs of capitalism and corporate greed. By being able to skirt the legal and moral parameters of our society, this professional sports league has been able to extract wealth from student athletes and the African American community to the tune of several billion dollars.

The NCAA’s new president, Mark Emmert, shocked the world when he admitted that it might be time for student athletes and their families to share in the massive revenue streams being generated by their kids. Emmert has admitted that he would like to “explore” the issue of modestly increasing the scholarship limits of student athletes in revenue-generating sports, primarily football and basketball. While remaining far from admitting that there should be significant changes, Emmert has confessed to the fact that the financial asymmetries might be a bit uncomfortable.

Click to read.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg and 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.

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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Survey: 2/3 of African Americans Do Not Believe that Barack Obama is a True Civil Rights Leader

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I gave a speech at a church in upstate New York shortly after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.  During the service, the choir director took the liberty of changing the words from the song “We shall overcome,” to “We HAVE overcome.”  I also remember hearing a woman outside the speech proudly announce that she had just bought a new picture of President Barack Obama.  The woman said she was going to put the image right next to her pictures of Martin Luther King and Jesus.  Apparently, Obama’s election was a second-coming of Juneteenth for those who seemed to feel that a black president could do no wrong.

But there is a more fundamental question in all of this:  Should President Obama’s image be placed next to those who’ve fought for Civil Rights in the  past?  In recent survey by, 62.9% of the 734 respondents said they do not consider President Barack Obama to be a true Civil Rights Leader.  Another 28.5% said that they do consider President Obama to be a Civil Rights leader.  The rest claim they aren’t sure.  

According to, Civil Rights are defined as “rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or a minority group.”

Click to read.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bill Maher Says Republicans Are Scared of Black People Not Named Cosby and Urkel

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Comedian and TV show host Bill Maher made some interesting remarks the other day on his show about GOP fear and racial tension. During a segment in which he posted a picture of members of the New Black Panther Party, Maher noted that Republicans generally "soil their adult diapers" when confronted by people of color. He did, however, note one exception:

"Every black person scares you (GOP) unless they look like Urkel, talk like Colin Powell and wear Bill Cosby sweaters."
I wish I could say that the remark was funny, but the truth is that it's funnier in print than it was during the delivery. All the while, I have to give Maher credit for speaking the truth. When it comes to the integration of African Americans into mainstream America, there is a notion of "acceptability" that many of us, especially black males, are forced to constantly deal with.

Click to read.

Forest Whitaker Having Serious Tax Problems

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Hollywood superstar Forest Whitaker was recently hit with a large tax bill after failing to pay $185,000 he owed to the IRS. The tax collectors in California have cited Whitaker and filed a lien for the balance. Both he and his wife Keisha are named in the complaint, which was filed in the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds.
It was reported in 2009 that Whitaker owed $1.29 million in state and federal taxes. Whitaker is not the only Hollywood megastar to have tax problems. Actor Wesley Snipes is in prison until 2013 after being charged with failing to file tax returns for three years.
Chris Tucker was hit with some very serious tax problems himself, as the LA County Records Office showed that Tucker owed over $11 million in taxes up through 2006. Actor Nicolas Cage was also found to owe millions to the IRS.


Click to read.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

“Obama is Not Loyal to His Old Friends in Chicago”


It appears that Hermene Hartman, a black businesswoman in Chicago, feels that President Obama is not loyal to his friends in Chicago who launched his political career.  Here is an excerpt of an interview she did with Chicago magazine:


CF: What's your relationship with the Obamas?
HH: It used to be good. It used to be superb before they got to the White House. I haven't been invited, and I'm insulted.

Click to read more.

Dr. Boyce on the Huffington Post: Sharpton, Jealous and Morial Plan to “Measure the Movement”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University - Huffington Post

A year ago, we thought this date was never going to arrive. It's the one year anniversary of last year's"Measuring the Movement" forum, where Rev. Al Sharpton brought together a list of black public figures to produce constructive solutions for problems being faced by the African American community. The list of invitees was a virtual "who's who" of black leadership that only Sharpton could put together: NAACP President Ben Jealous, Urban League President Marc Morial, radio show host Tom Joyner, CNN's Roland Martin, Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree and even men like Judge Greg Mathis got together to talk about the direction of black America.

Click to read more.

Chris Brown Goes Nuts at Good Morning America: Was He also Arrested?

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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Building a Business by Tutoring Math

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

What is your name, and what do you do?
My name is Stephanie Espy, and I'm the founder and president of MathSP ( MathSP is a math enrichment company that helps individuals to improve their math skills. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, MathSP provides instruction to middle school students, high school students, college students, adults who need additional math-based resources alongside their coursework, and students who need an added challenge beyond their coursework. MathSP also prepares individuals for the math section of various standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT, computer-adaptive exams such as the GMAT or GRE, and state exams such as the EOCT or GHSGT.


Click to read

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tyra Banks Going to Harvard Sets the Standard for Young Black Women

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.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Over 88% of African Americans Have Been Victims of Workplace Discrimination

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

A survey taken this week at has revealed that 88.5% of all African American respondents believe they have been victims of workplace racial discrimination at some point in their careers. The results were nearly uniform across men and women. A small percentage (5.5%) said they do not believe they've ever experienced racial discrimination in the workplace, and a similar percentage (6.1%) claim they are not sure.
The results are interesting in light of the well-documented economic struggles among African Americans, including unemployment rates that are nearly double those of white Americans. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black unemployment stands at 15.3%, compared to just eight-percent for white Americans. Black public figures and political leaders have been calling on the Obama Administration to use targeted economic policy in order to alleviate racial disparities in wealth and employment, but to no avail thus far.


Click to read.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kensley Hawkins: Asked to Pay for Incarceration with Jailhouse Savings

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Kensley Hawkins was sent to prison in 1980 for the murder of one man and the attempted murder of two police officers in Chicago. He had an 8-year old daughter and was going to be in prison for a very long time.
During his time in prison, Kensley earned $75-per-month building furniture in Joliet, Illinois. Somehow, he was able to save $11,000 during his stay in the penitentiary, a small tribute to his daughter, who is now nearly 40-years old. But the state of Illinois is not satisfied, and has asked that Kensley be required to pay for the costs of his incarceration.

The state is arguing that Mr. Hawkins owes them $455,203.14 for the cost of keeping him in prison. The case has now reached the Illinois Supreme Court.

"The reason you want Mr. Hawkins to keep his money is because he's gonna get out of prison some day, and when he gets out of prison, we want him to have saved his money so that he can take care of himself you don't want the public to have to pay for him," Hawkins' attorney, Ben Weinberg, told Fox Chicago.


Click to read.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jalen Rose vs. Grant Hill: What Does It Mean to be an Uncle Tom?


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

( As a black man who is roughly the same age as Grant Hill and Jalen Rose, I watched the back and forth between these two great warriors with extreme curiosity.  During the ESPN documentary about the Fab Five, Jalen went out of his way to say that at the time, he felt Duke to be a school that only recruits Uncle Toms.  I found the comment to be interesting and reflective of Jalen’s very candid nature.  It is his honesty, insight and mental toughness that has led me to respect Jalen Rose more as the years have gone by.  In other words, he’s not just another dumb jock, and he seems to have a tremendous amount of integrity.

Grant Hill is also not a dumb jock.  The Duke University grad has gone on to have an amazing NBA career and to become an upstanding American citizen.  You’ve never heard crazy stories about Grant or Jalen getting shot in the club, going broke, getting arrested or having a dozen anonymous  baby’s mamas.  They’ve both lived good lives and should certainly be friends.

But Jalen’s “Uncle Tom” comment seems to have struck a chord with Grant Hill.  In response to Jalen’s interesting remarks, Grant went to the New York Times to express his concerns about what Jalen said.  Grant’s emotional reaction opens the debate about what it means for a black man to be an Uncle Tom.  We have to even wonder if such a thing exists.

Click to read more.

Bill Cosby Tells Russell Simmons to “Get the Fuck Out of My Face”


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

So, Bill Cosby tells Russell Simmons to “Get the fuck out of my face”?   I would like to say that the comment surprises me, but the truth is that someone else told me they had a similar interaction with Cosby in private.  It appears that their divergence of opinions stems from Cosby’s remarks about black youth a few years ago.  In case you don’t know, Cosby seems to think that all young people are headed to hell in a hand basket, and that they all miraculously decided to get together and destroy their own futures.  The problem, obviously, is that there are a host of extraneous factors which led to the urban decay we’ve witnessed over the last 30 years:  A failed educational system, unbelievable amounts of black unemployment and mass incarceration have worked together to destroy the integrity of the black family.  Cosby’s courage in attacking single mothers and black teens is not matched with an equal amount of courage as it pertains to standing up to the powers-that-be who profit from our destruction.  Therefore, his analysis was incomplete at best.


Click to read.

Ten Thing Every Black Father Needs to Do

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

Black Female Entrepreneurs Give You Virtual Assistance


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

Most of us think that a personal assistant is someone who lives and works right next to you. In the age of technology, it is no longer necessary to be in the same room or even the same country as the person who handles your daily affairs. With technology, cell phones, and other ways for us to remain connected, it's quite simple to work with someone every day of your life and never even see them. It is because of their brilliant use of technology and entrepreneurship skills that the ladies with JustGo Virtual Assistants are today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:

What is your name and what do you do?
Our name is JustGo and we are a company that provides new age administrative and personal assistant services to high profile speakers, authors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Our assistants, although in another state, are able to complete and fulfill client requests and wishes through the use of internet, email, fax, phone, and/or chat. We may not be able to personally pour your daily cup of coffee, but we can definitely have it delivered to you. JustGo presents a comfortable and convenient opportunity to those professionally inclined individuals with impeccable administrative and computer skills to work from home while also gifting its clients with money saving services that reduce over-head expenses and relieves the pressures of routine responsibilities. This frees the client to focus on tasks that are more profit generating or gives them the opportunity to enjoy leisurely activities they otherwise may not have time for.


Click to read more.

Dr. Boyce Thought of the Day – 3/16/11

Since most of the women on basketball wives are either unmarried or have never been married, why don't they just call the show "Basketball Baby Mamas?"

NCAA’s Racial Disparity in Graduation Rates: Just One of the Many Problems with This System

NCAA grad rate racial disparity is out of bounds

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida told us, once again, what most of us already knew: Black Division I men's basketball players are lagging behind white student athletes when it comes to graduation rates. Although the study cites a long-term increase in the graduation rates of both groups, African-American males are still pulling up the rear.

So, what do we make of these disparities? Well, most casual observers of sport know that the graduation gap is a persistent part of collegiate athletics, and not a problem that is taken very seriously. We've come to expect that the white guys are the ones who walk away with access and opportunity while many of the black athletes, unfortunately, get about 10 seconds of fame and a lifetime of regrets. Even when these black male former athletes show up to their alma maters seeking jobs as coaches, they are typically rejected.

Disproportionate sampling may also play a role in the gap. In a recent ESPN documentary about the Fab Five at The University of Michigan, Jalen Rose mentions the widely-known practice of allowing white guys with goodGPAs and perhaps family connections to become bench warmers in order to help maintain the team grade point average. Nobody cares about who rides the end of the bench. They only pay their millions to see the men (typically black) who are dunking the basketballs and scoring all the points.


Click to read.

The Death of Nate Dogg is the End of a Very Dark and Creative Era

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

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: A Couple Makes Both Money and Love

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One reason that we do the spotlights here on AOL Black Voices is to profile businesses, organizations and individuals who are doing outstanding (but perhaps unsung) work within the African American community. While most media enjoys highlighting the dysfunction of the black community, we believe that there is plenty to celebrate. What I love about Ayize and Aiyana Ma'at is that they've found a way to use their love to create the financial fuel that helps to sustain their family. As certified relationship counselors, they also work together to help other couples find the love they've been seeking as well. It is because of their empowered commitment to strengthening the black family in America that Ayize and Aiyana Ma'at are today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:


Click to read.

Blast from the Past: Dr. Boyce at Madison Square Garden – Explaining Why College Athletes Should be Paid

Part 1 is above



Part 2 is above

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dwayne Wade’s Custody Battle Breaks Black Father Stereotypes

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

This week, a judge in Chicago gave NBA star Dwayne Wade sole custody of his two sons. The decision was made after a prolonged legal battle between Wade and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn. The boys are currently 8 and 3 years old. Wade has argued that his ex-wife has become violent toward him and falsely accused him of abusing his sons. A court-appointed representative for the boys made the recommendation that Wade be given full custody and that his ex-wife receive a mental evaluation.

I happened to be in Chicago when I heard about Wade's custody decision (which took place in a Chicago courtroom). What's even more ironic is that I heard about the decision shortly after having an opportunity to watch an episode of the television show, "Basketball Wives." During the show, I thought about the "interesting" custody battle between another baller, Dwight Howard and his ex-girlfriend Royce Reed, who is a member of the show's cast.

Click to read.

The ESPN Fab Five Special Reminds Us Why College Athletes Need to be Paid

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I lived through the Fab Five era within college basketball, literally breathing the same air and vicariously identifying with the brothers who brought power and style to the sport. I was approximately the same age as the five freshmen who took their team to the NCAA championship, and I even wore black socks on the court (yes, I am ashamed to admit that). An ESPN special recently took my mind back down memory lane by replaying the experience of the Fab Five and how they changed college basketball forever. To this day, there has been nothing like them, and I wouldn't be surprised if their feat is never replicated again.
The most intriguing aspect of the Fab Five special on ESPN was not their exploits on the basketball court (which were amazing), it was the conversation about money. When these five young men stepped onto the court for the University of Michigan, they instantly became cash cows for their universities. Sales of University of Michigan merchandise went from $1.5 million per year to over $10 million per year shortly after their first season. Jalen Rose, one of the members of the Fab Five, mentioned seeing that Nike had released a sneaker named after the group, and they regularly found their academic schedules being interrupted with trips around the world to promote a brand that was making everyone rich except for their own families.


Click to read.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Choosing Not to Run Away from Your Destiny

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I went to see “The Adjustment Bureau,” the new film starring Matt Damon and Anthony Mackie. Mackie has become one of my favorite actors as of late after taking some very bold and promising stands on how black Hollywood can address the racism they are constantly facing from the white Hollywood establishment. Rather than standing around moaning about the inequities of their profession, Mackie has simply said that we need to stand up and start creating our own films. I love what Mackie had to say, because you can never gain anyone’s respect by begging.


Click to read.

Friday, March 11, 2011

March Madness Reminds us of the Importance of Reforming the NCAA Plantation

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I wrote about a new book regarding the NCAA’s alleged exploitation of black athletes, written by University of Georgia Professor Billy Hawkins. In his recently-released book, “The New Plantation,” Hawkins goes out of his way to help us understand that the method by which the NCAA does business is not much different from the mindset of plantation owners of the old south.

The analogies used by Professor Hawkins are thought-provoking and appear to be alarmist at first glance. After all, citizens are commonly comparing nearly every modern-day injustice to slavery in order to make a dramatic point. But in this case, the analogies are appropriate, in large part because slavery is not a dichotomy. Instead, it is actually a continuum, with complete freedom on one end and total servitude on the other. One could even argue that slaves themselves were not completely devoid of freedom, since they could have always chosen to run away, buy their freedom, maim themselves or even commit suicide as a way to escape their condition. The point of this very grim example is not to say that slavery was not entirely horrific; rather, it is to say that something does not have to be entirely horrific to be compared to slavery.


Click to read.

If Your Son Doesn’t Make the Grade, Take His Butt Off the Field

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

Today I took my afternoon nap thinking about the days when I was captain of my high school track team in the 12th grade.  I wasn’t the star of the team and I also wasn’t an academic star (my grades were terrible).  Like many other black boys across America, I’d come to identify myself as an athletic commodity rather than an intellectual one. 

I remember that one of the fastest boys on our team was also like a lot of other black males:  He was in special education and had horrible grades.  On his report card, he’d gotten two Fs, three Ds and a C.  My coach was concerned about his grades, but not because he cared about the young man.  He was only worried about his grades because he thought that the kid might not be eligible for the big track meet we had coming up.


Click to read.

Howard University Students Choose Productivity Over Partying for Spring Break

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Most college students are planning to waste time and money over spring break, partying hard, drinking till they vomit, and doing other things that might get them into trouble. Howard University is encouraging its students to engage in a more enlightened use of its time over spring break, by helping the students to raise money for a trip to support the people of Haiti.
WHUR, the Howard University radio station and one of the leading stations in the DC area, is helping the students raise the $150,000 that they will need in order to make the trip. The station is holding a radiothon to raise money on Sunday, March 6th from 6 am until 6 pm. In addition to going to Haiti, the students plan to go to other cities across the United States in order to provide "critical services to those in need." The students plan to travel to Haiti, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta, in addition to providing support in the Washington DC area.


Click to read.

Howard University Students Raise Money to Help Out in Haiti



Office of Information and Public Affairs 202-806-3623


Radio Station Launches Fundraiser to Help University Students Perform Good Deeds

WASHINGTON (February 2, 2011) WHUR 96.3 FM - Howard University will host a 12-hour radiothon Sunday, March 6th from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help send hundreds of Howard University students to Haiti and cities across the United States to provide critical services to those in need. The “Helping Hands” radiothon will encourage listeners to phone in, drop by the radio station or to go on-line to make a contribution so students can travel to Haiti, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, and here in the Washington area.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Prof. Rodney Washington Helps to Keep Your Sons in Line

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I recently heard Rodney K. Washington speak at the Critical Conversations Summit at Jackson State University. I was instantly impressed with Dr. Washington's keen understanding of the experience of the black male in America and his willingness to attack the issue head-on. Skills like those of Dr. Washington are critical in a nation where black males have been placed into a cage that leads them to kill one another and commit homicide to their own futures every single day. We also need more black male educators put in front of the classrooms of public schools and universities who have yet to embrace the difference between true diversity and cosmetic window-dressing. It is for his decision to dedicate his scholarship to helping his community that Dr. Rodney K. Washington is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:


Click to read.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Should the NAACP Be Giving Awards to Artists Who Promote Drugs, Violence and the N-Word?

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.

Juan Williams Whines and Plays the Race Card

Is Juan Williams right about 'all-white' NPR?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Juan Williams, the Fox News commentator who was disgraced in a highly public firing by NPR last year, has decided to go at his old bosses after NPR went through a public humiliation of it's own. In a recent interview, Williams referred to NPR as an "all-white organization" that showed "the worst of white condescension" in the way they fired him last year. This was after NPR executive Ron Schiller was caught on a hidden camera referring to the Tea Party movement as racist.

"I think when it comes to NPR's decision to, without any reason, throw me out the door, I think that for them, especially for some of the people who created NPR, it's an all-white operation," Williams said. He also said that he felt that they favored white female journalists over black and Hispanic ones.

Sorry Juan, but what NPR did to you was not condescending. Condescending is when Fox News uses you as it's personal "Negro Stamp of Approval" for some of the most racist, vile and insulting commentary in news media today. I personally stopped appearing on Fox News in 2007 after the network decided that race-baiting was a great way to get ratings. The Obama presidency was just around the corner, and Fox News would take the lead in giving a platform to the racial ignorance that still exists in our country.


click to read more

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Glenn Beck’s ratings Drop by 33%

Glenn Beck Sees His Ratings Decline By 33 Percent

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In August of last year, Glenn Beck seemed to be on top of the world. The rising star ofFox News held a "Restoring Honor" march on Washington that drew 100,000 people, who also seemed to feel that American honor had been lost since they'd mistakenly allowed a black man into the White House.
Well, since that time, Beck's supporters haven't been nearly as supportive, or perhaps they've simply gotten bored. Whatever the reason, the viewership on Beck's Fox News show has declined by 33 percent since last August.
In fact, some speculate as to whether or not Beck's beloved network will give him the ax.


But don't pop the champagne bottle just yet. Beck still has two-million viewers each night and remains a force in conservative commentary. Whether or not Fox keeps him is not just dependent upon him getting two million viewers, it is also dependent on whether he's worth the money they are paying him - as well as their likelihood of finding someone else who can do a better job.

Click to read.

On the 14-Yr Anniversary of His Death, Biggie Still Speaks to the Black Male Experience

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.

Adorable Video: Little Girls Tell You Why They Won’t Quit



Watch this video from Watoto from the Nile (whose video about Lil Wayne got 750,000 views) tell you why they won’t ever give up in life.  They are quite talented.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Allen Iverson’s Foreclosure Reminds Us of the State of the Black Athlete

Allen Iverson

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

It appears that life just got more complicated for former NBA star Allen Iverson. It is being reported that Iverson's 6,848 square-foot home in Cherry Hills, Colorado is now in foreclosure. Iverson is an 11-time NBA All-Star and former MVP. He purchased the home in 2008 for $3.88 million and now owes $2.5 million to Wells Fargo.


I am not sure if this foreclosure is part of a broader financial trend in Iverson's life, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised. For some odd reason, the last five years have produced one of the fastest slides of any player in recent memory. Just a few years ago, Iverson was an NBA beast; slashing, leaping and sprinting his way to magical performances. As the years went by, we saw more and more reports that Iverson's personal life was starting to unravel. Stories about alcoholism and gambling problems were accompanied by an embarrassing drop in his on-court statistics, leading America to conclude that Iverson was becoming an aging also-ran.

Click to read.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hilarious New Film by Takia Thompson: Take a Look


Click here to watch this film, “It’s a fact and it might be true,” by Takia Thompson.  It’s hilarious!

Memphis Engaged in Fight Over School Funding

Click here to hear an interview between Roland Martin and Pastor Kenneth Whalum about the pending merger of Memphis City Schools with those of Shelby County.


Click here to see the other point of view.

This is Dr. Boyce wrote on the issue on AOL Black Voices:

Memphis, Tennessee is a city that is rich with culture, history and opportunity. I've visited the city on several occasions and found the city and its people to be quite enjoyable on all levels. What's also interesting about Memphis, however, is that it's city schools are failing and it continues to be a town that is plagued with racism: The city itself is mostly black, while wealthier whites live on the outskirts, hoping that the black folks don't come and rain on their parade. The city is not nearly as disconnected from it's legacy of blatant racism as it might want to believe.

Voters in the city of Memphis are being sent to the polls Tuesday to decide whether or not to transfer control of the Memphis City Schools to Shelby County, which surrounds Memphis. The Memphis City School Board voted on December 20 to surrender its charter and relinquish control of Memphis City Schools to Shelby County, leading to tomorrow's showdown. The referendum effectively allows voters to validate the decision by the school board, overriding Shelby County's legal challenge to the Memphis City School Board decision.

Click to read more.

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: A Teacher is Successfully Educating Black Boys

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was introduced to the work of Roszalyn Akins at a conference being held by the Mississippi Learning Institute. Roz (that's her nickname) was giving a presentation about her program called "Black Males Working." I was immediately impressed with the vigor and passion with which Roz approached the important task of mentoring and educating young black boys. Without having the funding nor the fanfare that her program truly deserves, Roz has taken the "worst" kids in her district and turned them into academic champions. She reminds us that there is nothing that our kids can't do when they are given an opportunity and a little bit of encouragement. Saving the black male is not just something just that helps black men. It is important to any woman who cares about her son, husband, brother or father and the abysmal outcomes that occur in a society that is designed to destroy you. So, saving the black male is critical to protecting the black family in America. It is for her never-ending commitment to empowering black boys that Roszalyn Akins is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:

Click to read.

Tea Partying Congresswoman Says Obama Runs a “Gangster Government”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) is standing by her reference to the Obama Administration as a "gangster government." Bachmann, who is the founder of the Tea Party Caucus, said "I don't take back my statement on gangster government. I think that there have been actions that have been taken by this government that I think are corrupt."
Bachmann's "gangster" assertion relates to $105 billion that was included in the health care law provided for its implementation. She said that the White House should apologize for providing the funding, and accuses the Obama Administration of widespread corruption.

Click to read more

Does Education Always Lead to a Better Job? Nope

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

An economist for whom I have tremendous respect, Paul Krugman, recently wrote a New York Times article which put the debate over education into context. I found the article interesting as I prepare to speak at the National Black Law Students Association Convention with my colleague, Charles Ogletree at Harvard University.
I've been thinking a great deal about how to help our community understand the meaning and value of a good education (here are some of my thoughts on the matter if you're interested). I've preached relentlessly that being well-educated is incredibly important for all of us, and that we should be willing to fight to the end to make sure our kids get what they need from our woefully inadequate school systems. At the same time, my recent appearance at the Black Achievers Banquet in Louisville, Ky led me to conclude that further discussion is necessary. I saw quite a few young people doing amazing things, but it's my hope to help us all understand that an education is not simply a path to getting a job with some corporation that will have you doing meaningless work for your entire life. Sure, that can be part of the plan, but it can't be the entire plan altogether.


Click to read more.

The Curvy Vs. Fat Debate: A Man’s Point of View

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Ashley Patrice Williams at AOL Black Voices recently wrote an article on the difference between being curvy and fat.  I am not going to get into the business of telling beautiful black women how to carry their weight (there’s already too much scrutiny in media making women self-conscious about their bodies), but most of us can agree that no one carries a few extra pounds the way a black woman can.

Two things come to mind in the curvy vs. fat debate.  First, there’s a difference between looking good and being healthy.  So, as wonderful as “sistuhs” might look with a little bit of extra “junk in the trunk,” we must always be cognizant of the wide variety of illnesses that plague our community that result from eating so much salt, fat, sugar and all the other things that keep killing us.  Big Momma’s Sweet Tea and fried chicken might taste better than candy, but Big Momma and her husband also died from cardiac arrest and diabetes.


Click to read.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Says that Obama is Not Really a Black Man

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

It appears that the “great” Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is black.  On his show, Limbaugh responded to Obama’s suggestion during a meeting that some of the animus being shown toward him was driven by race (which we all know plays a huge role in the unprecedented attacks he’s been facing from his political opponents).  On his radio show, Limbaugh had this to say:

"Let me ask you a question. How many people really think of Obama as black? ...One of Obama's parents is black. Undeniable. But he was raised by a white mother, by white grandparents. He went to a highly exclusive private school in Hawaii with rich, white students and white teachers. He went to exclusive colleges that were practically lily-white. Barry Obama is from a very white, albeit radically left, cultural background. He's not from the hood. He's not from the movement...I'm telling you, there is a chip on this guy's shoulder, and it is a factor in every policy decision that he makes."

What’s interesting is that Rush Limbaugh’s statement is a powerful reminder of the kind of racism he embodies with his typical rhetoric.  Somehow, Limbaugh was made to believe that being black means that you are “from the hood” or “from the movement.”  The truth is that being black can also mean that you were born middle/upper class, attended elite universities, or are a sociopolitical conservative.  By confining blackness to mean that a person must have had a specific background or be confined to a particular economic or social class, Limbaugh comes off as the standard sort of racist who remains hell-bent on disrespecting our humanity.


Click to read.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quick Note from Dr Boyce: Single Black Women and the Church

Quick note by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I'm doing an email interview with Ebony Magazine about the options for black women in the church finding a lifelong partner.  It's really giving me reason for pause, because I've never quite understood those women who will only date men who go to church and believe what they do.  I know quite a few brothers who walk the walk and talk the talk, but don't have any desire to be ethical mates or good partners.

Click to read.

Group Seeks to Protect the Jonestown Legacy

Dr. Jynona Norwood is on a lifelong mission. The mission is one that is written in the blood and spirit of her own relatives, many of whom died in the infamous Jonestown Massacre 32 years ago. I'll let Dr. Norwood tell the story in her own way, but the massacre went down in history as the largest group of African Americans to die in one incident since slavery. Whites died in the massacre also, but most of those who died were black. Dr. Norwood is seeking to erect a memorial to remember the scores of children who died alongside their parents in this horrific incident, but is encountering resistance. Among the most insulting requests that have been made is that the name of Jim Jones be put right alongside the victims. Personally, I find this to be simply unacceptable. The interview with Dr. Norwood is below:

Click to read.

Friday, March 4, 2011

President Obama’s Speech at Miami Central High School





Miami Central High School

Miami, Florida

4:00 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Rockets!  (Applause.)  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Everybody, have a seat, have a seat.  Have a seat.  It is good to be here today! (Applause.)  I'm excited!  I am thrilled to be here, Rockets.  Bonswa.  It is good to see all of you.

     I want to, first of all, thank somebody who I think is going to end up being one of the best Education Secretaries that we’ve ever had, Arne Duncan, for being here.  (Applause.)  We also have -- your congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, is here.  Give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)


Click to read.

Dr. Phil Interviews Kelley Williams-Bolar: Why I Just Don’t Like It

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Many of you might remember the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the single black mother of two who was jailed for sending her children to a school that was outside their home district. Well, Dr. Phil McGraw has decided to do a show on Kelley's situation, set to air in the coming week.

Shortly after AOL Black Voices brought Kelley's case to the nation, I found that there were quite a few citizens around the country who were concerned about her situation. Millions of people around the world rallied to Kelley's defense, and and did a wonderful job of gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions that were eventually delivered to the governor of Ohio.

Click to read.

Fifth Grader Made into a “Slave” in Classroom Slave Auction

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

A black fifth grader in Gahanna, Ohio was used as a slave in a social studies class in order to teach a lesson to the children.  Since that time, the mother of the boy, Aneka Burton, has demanded an apology, citing the psychological damage that was being done to her child.  The principal at the school, Scott Schmidt of Chapelfield Elementary, called the mother to offer his most sincere apologies for the incident, stating that no harm was intended. 

According to 10-year old Nikko Burton, the students were divided into two groups:  “Slaves” and “masters,” with the other black student in class being made into a master.  The teacher then had the audacity to do a simulated slave auction, which the boy refused to be a part of.   At that point, he was sent back to his desk.

Click to read.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Dressing for Success in a Tough Economy

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

African Americans are suffering worse than any other group of Americans during this prolonged recession. Our unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure rates are far higher than whites, which is a striking reality to face after electing our first black president. People like Alison Vaughn position themselves to help those of us who wish to compete more effectively in the workplace by offering training that will increase your value to prospective employers. It is her commitment to serving her community that makes Alison Vaughn today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:

Click to read.

Black Hollywood Needs to Let Go of the Academy Awards

Halle Berry

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I don't watch the Oscars, the Academy Awards, or whatever you like to call it. But then again, I never have. While I spent years thinking that perhaps I was the only person not sophisticated enough to appreciate what I deemed to be the most boring night of the year, I then saw data showing that viewership fell again this year, implying that perhaps I am not alone in my disdain. While there are some who watch the show religiously, the truth is that many Americans (especially black folks), would rather watch old MC Hammer videos at the dentist's office than endure the psychological tragedy of being both insulted and bored senseless, all at the same time.

Click to read.