Friday, January 28, 2011

Dr. Boyce: Why Would Terry McMillan Attack Will Smith’s Children?

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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: Succeeding in Corporate America – Meet Gisele Marcus

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

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 Ex-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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Delta Sigma Theta Has Big Money on Founders Day

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action

I never joined a fraternity during college. My sister and brother pledged, but I was too broke to afford the expense of joining any organization other than the "Broke Negroes of America" club. Also, I was concerned that spending six weeks being mistreated, awakened in the middle of the night and yelled at would cause two unfortunate outcomes: 1) My GPA would drop, and 2) I'd end up going to jail for issuing a couple of beat downs.

But even though I chose not to pledge during college, I gained a degree of respect for many of those who decided to do so. Quite a few members of the African American community are proud of the black greek tradition and find it to be one of the cornerstones of cultural, economic and political power within our society. While the college students get a bad rap for using their greek identity as an excuse to wear matching clothes and have more parties, there are more mature members who see their involvement as an avenue for political and social engagement.
Black America is in consistent need of organizations designed to pursue our collective purpose. Our community lacks the economic and political infrastructure necessary to lift us from the bottom of America's racial caste system. Delta Sigma Theta is part of that tradition, as are other African American sororities and fraternities.

click to read.

Mass Incarceration and the Marriage Market for African American Women

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In a very compelling article, The Economist Magazine stepped away from its standard delivery of international political updates to dig deeply into the experience of the African American woman. In the article, economists analyze dating for black women as a market, where men and women enter the market to search for a suitable mate.
The author starts off with a simple example to help make his point. He says "IMAGINE that the world consists of 20 men and 20 women, all of them heterosexual and in search of a mate. Since the numbers are even, everyone can find a partner. But what happens if you take away one man?"
Then, citing the work of Tim Harford, an economist in England, the author says that because one out of the 20 women faces the possibility of never finding a husband, she tries harder to get a man, perhaps by dressing more seductively or doing things the other women might not do. She may even steal a man from someone else. This then affects what other women do to find and keep their own men, and also the behavior of the men themselves.


Click to read.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phylicia Barnes: Missing Honor Student’s Case Should Get More Attention

This undated photo provided by the Baltimore Police Dept shows missing teen Phylicia Barnes. Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore, may have met with foul play, police say.


Two weeks after a 16-year-old North Carolina girl disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore, police appear to be hitting a dead end in the investigation.
There are no suspects, no motive and few leads to follow in the disappearance of Phylicia Barnes.
"It is almost like she completely vanished," Baltimore police spokesmanAnthony Guglielmi told AOL News today. "We have nothing tangible in terms of leads. There was a big meeting today -- we have gone 14 days now -- and not a single sighting or a single tip has turned out to be true."


Barnes lives in Monroe, N.C., but was visiting relatives in Baltimore. She was last seen around 2:30 p.m. Dec. 28, when she left the apartment of her 27-year-old half-sister, Deena Barnes. According to relatives, Phylicia Barnes told her sister she was going shopping.
What happened to the teenager next remains a mystery, police said.
Investigators do not suspect Phylicia is a runaway. They do suspect foul play in the case, but at this point they do not know if she is the victim of a homicide or abduction, Guglielmi said.


Click to read.

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Giving Advice on Black Relationships

Given that I've always been concerned about the breakdown of black families, I thought I would reach out to a woman who's made a career out of speaking to the challenges of black relationships. Her name is not Steve Harvey, so she's not a comedian. Instead, she's serious about figuring out what it takes to make our relationships work and she's even asked if the black church keeps women single and lonely. We can't let either black men or black women off the hook when it comes to the breakdown of our families, for both parties react in ways that are reflective of hundreds of years of societal abuse. As a result, black men and women end up angry and hurt by one another with both sides pointing fingers. But at the end of the day, you are the one who is responsible for your own behavior, so if your relationships are all falling apart, your journey must start by glancing into the mirror. While simply choosing better people to date might be part of the solution, that can also be a copout (since you spend your life searching for "the one" who can manage all of your own dysfunction). Instead, honest reflection on the manner by which you go about loving people who come into your life is probably more important. It is because of my concern on this issue that Deborrah Cooper is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight for AOL Black Voices.

1) What is your full name and what do you do?
Deborrah Cooper is my given name. I'm a dating expert, writer/columnist and broadcast journalist. I've been writing controversial relationship based articles and dating advice columns under the pen name "Ms. HeartBeat" since 1992. As a matter of fact, I served as the relationship columnist on AOL's "other" Black channel (NetNoir) in the mid- to late 1990s.


Click to read.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BET Co-Founder Sheila Johnson Has Some Nasty Words for Oprah Winfrey

Oprah's OWN Network Lacks Diversity


Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET, had a few concerns about Oprah Winfrey’s net OWN network, citing the network’s lack of racial diversity.  On NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Johnson had this to say:


"The only advice that I say, let's open up your circle a little bit more. You know, we love the Dr. Phils. We love the Suze Ormans. Let's open up. There are other people. And there's also African-American experts out there that I think she should start bringing on her show that can reach even a wider audience."

At that point, host Michel Martin mentioned that the network’s whiteness might be confusing to some.  Johnson then said this:

"No. Yes," replied Johnson. "And I think she really should do that and not be afraid to do it. There's really a lot of great experts out there that really know the businesses at hand. And I'd like to see her open up her circle to do that."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: Meet Ms. Keri Hilson

Keri Hilson

What is your name and what do you do?
Keri Hilson and I'm a R&B/Pop Singer and also write songs for other artists.

What are some of the misconceptions people have about celebrities and their money?

People tend to think that celebrities are impenetrable to making mistakes, that because they see you in a video with expensive things that your life revolves around that. I've found that my strongest foundation has been my family and friends now more than ever.

What has been the scariest/funniest/best moment in your career?

The best moment in my career is every time I'm on stage, going over lines and about to perform and I think, "Wow. I'm actually awake. I'm living my dream!"


Click to read.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Republican Congresswoman in Racy Lesbian Photos

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has been caught on camera in a lurid scandal where another woman is apparently licking her breast. – this is why you don’t need to let random people take your picture when you’re drunk.  But hey, you’re drunk, so why would you care?

Dorian Chandler: My Take on the N-Word and Huckleberry Finn

by Filmmaker Dorian Chandler

To censor or not to censor?

That is the question.

This week marked a controversial move by publisherNew South Books and Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribbento remove the word “nigger” from their new edition of Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Nigger is used 219 times in the original novel and will be replaced by the word “slave” in the revamped version. The censored version is an attempt to reposition Huckleberry Finn within the American grade school curricula lexicon. By censoring language are we blatantly distorting historical context? Will students get more out of censorship then provoked discourse?

I’m not a fan of censorship, especially when it relates to art and education. As an artist who often uses film and language to explore the complex word “nigger” I have experienced censorship firsthand. My film and website will often be called “N Nation” instead of its original name: “Nigger Nation.” As the filmmaker, it’s disconcerting one would take it upon themselves to edit and censor my work in the very forums it was made to be addressed, like classrooms and film screenings. After its viewing, there is always a dialog seeking to share their experiences with the word “nigger” and it’s place in society. When it is introduced as “N Nation”, it almost mutes the discussion by making it apparent from the start that this is an uncomfortable word to say, let alone have a conversation about.


Click to read.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Duchess Harris: The Black Scholar You Need to Know

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The role of Super Woman in Black America can be readily applied to a woman who can balance the relentless pursuit of academic achievement, professional success, and outstanding motherhood, all at the same time. Miriam Harris (a.k.a. Duchess) is a textbook example of what we all want our daughters to become. She is a mother of three, and has both a PhD and a law degree. The Ivy League educated supermom is not only "about her business," she is deeply committed to the business of using her vast intellect to make the world a better place for both women and people of color. In other words, she's not just a Black PhD, she is actually a "Ph-Do." AOL Black Voices was able to catch up with Professor Harris for the Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight:
1) What is your name and what do you do for a living?

My name is Duchess Harris and I am an Associate Professor of American Studies at Macalester College.
2) What is your area of expertise and what made you pursue this particular area of study?


click to read.