Monday, September 26, 2022

Dr. Boyce Watkins Talks ADOS, Lizzo and Lil’ Nas X (Oh My!)

Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins / photo supplied

*Dr. Boyce Watkins has always been highly-critical of cultural elements he believes are detrimental to the Black community, and though his manner of delivery may not be to the liking of the masses, or me for that matter, there are scores of studies, some of which predate the internet, that support the notion that any media apparatus within a white supremacist power structure will look to produce media that supports the worldview of that status quo.

The worst of which says that Black people are inherently lazy, inferior, wanton, savages incapable of nuanced thought or action. Horrible, right? Right! However, these days those musings aren’t so much spoken as words, simply believed as truth by the mainstream far too often.

These stereotypes show up EVERYwhere and in everything produced. It is America’s fingerprint on volumes upon volumes of media dealing with, marketed toward and, far too often, produced by, Black people in America.

OTHER NEWS ON EURWEB: After Assaulting Chris Rock, Will Smith Wins Best Actor | WATCH Tearful Speech

Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins / photo supplied

One may ask “What becomes of a fish that is inhaling, sleeping and living in polluted water?”

Why it becomes polluted, that’s what.  So too is the fate of many living under the banner of a blatantly white supremacist society, albeit to varying degrees and extremes.

Full disclosure, I hated that he had to bring Kamala Harris’ husband into a conversation, I didn’t that he appeared to be attacking Lizzo, and I didn’t like it when I heard he had something to say about Lil’ Nas X.

Indeed, I feel people should stay in their lanes, a prime issue I have with many academics, authors, businessmen, and other self-appointed talented tenths is they think they’re celebrities, which admittedly sours me to their message, no matter the content.

Lizzo - Mustard on Watermelon
Lizzo – mustard on watermelon

 Dr. Watkins on Stereotypes in the Media

Dr. Watkins: If you look at the history of how Black people have been indoctrinated in this county, there has been a consistent media effort to promote dysfunctional behavior among Black people. So, it’s not a surprise when you see dysfunctional and destructive behavior.

I don’t mind the fight because I know what I’m fighting against. You can make us back down from none of that, ever.

EURweb.com: What do you have to say about the notion that you’re diluting your broader message of Black economic solidarity by making these hot takes all the time?

Dr. Watkins: I hear that argument. I completely recognize it. I don’t disagree with that at all. I believe deeply in the importance of living your truth.

When I talk about Lizzo and Lil’ Nas X, a lot of people don’t understand that I’m not talking about Lizzo, I’m not talking about Lil’ Nas X. I’m talking about the record labels that make billions of dollars promoting horrific Black stereotypes that are destructive to the Black family and the Black community.

Lizzo is a great singer. She can sing as great as Adele, I’m sure. But Adele just sings. She doesn’t have to go twerk to get attention, she’s not promoting obesity-many people in our community are dying of obesity. During the pandemic, the No. 1 reason for COVID morbidity was obesity. It was killing Black people everywhere.

Why in the world would I celebrate something that is killing us? That’s why we’re dying because we celebrate things that are killing us.

My statement was made more in defense of Lizzo. It was to say ‘Look at this poor Black woman who has to go on TikTok simulating fellatio and doing all these sex acts (to promote herself),’ I got daughters, man.

I want them to know that they don’t have to go out and behave like a gotdamn clown. I want them to succeed on their talent, just like a white woman does. Lil’ Nas X, he has every right to be as gay as he wanna be.

We know the LGBTQ community is going anywhere, and homophobia is very real. We should show love to everybody, no matter what their background is. But with Lil’ Nas X, he is a tool. They pour homosexuality into a lot of Black media because they’re only comfortable with the Black man is if he’s portrayed as a little boy, a little girl, or a clown.

Lil’ Nas X is not my issue, it’s the record labels who promote Lil’ Nas X over someone like a Dee-1, who is incredibly talented but doesn’t engage in all of the buffoonery.

lil nas x pregnant via PEOPLE/Twitter
A ‘Pregnant Lil Nas X via PEOPLE/Twitter

Nobody has a problem with you being gay. The question that I have to ask is why is that you being gay has to be the first thing that anybody knows about you?

I don’t walk in a room and say ‘Hi, I’m Dr. Boyce Watkins! I like big booties and big titties!,” you know? That’s my issue. And I wasn’t surprised by the way white media reacted to the statement.
I don’t rap, I don’t play basketball, and I’m not a comedian, so they’re not going to take the time to humanize an intelligent Black man and say ‘So, what is it he’s really trying to say?’

They do to me what they do to people like Farrakhan. “He doesn’t have anything to say that’s worth listening to. So, we’re going to tell you our interpretation of what he said.’

From the Root, Time and TheGrio comes all manner of criticisms against Dr. Boyce Watkins. While no man is above criticism, especially not one who offers his opinions for public consumption, it did strike me as odd that very few of these pieces actually reached out to Dr. Watkins.

Dr. Watkins: Out of all those media outlets that had something to say about what I said to Lizzo on Twitter, not only of them called me to say ‘What exactly did you mean by that statement?’
The reason that doesn’t offend me is because I know how propaganda works. That’s why, during the pandemic, you only heard one side of the argument. Russia does it, China does it, America does it.

Dr. Watkins on the A.D.O.S. Movement’s Missed Opportunity for Solidarity

Though relatively quiet as of late, the A.D.O.S. movement was all over the news just a couple of years ago.

For better or worse, Dr. Boyce Watkins has been associated with the movement via its leaders Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore, who he says he helped get their start. Though reparations is their cause celebrate, ADOS has also branded anti-immigrant for its stance on separating American-born individuals of African from latter-day Americans of African descent as well as from the Caribbean on everything from Affirmative Action to how federal taxes are administered.

Dr. Watkins: Yvette Carnell, I worked very closely with Yvette for six or seven years. Some would even say we gave her her start. Do I regret it, eh?

Sometimes I turn out to be my own worse enemy, because you put somebody on and they always seem to come back and blow up in my face in some kind of way.

Yvette came to me in 2012 and asked me would I share some of her articles. I’m from academia, where you’re not supposed to feel threatened by people who have different points of view than you.
I said ‘Ah, this is great. You can hear my perspective, then you can hear her perspective.’

She’s more on the left and I believe the Black community is at its best when we’re hearing all points of views; the people on the left, the people on the right, LBGTQ, straight, all of that!

I think that’s good for the community because it’s supposed to create dialogue and I believe we have the ability to do that if we tried. Her site, Breaking Brown, we helped her get that off the ground. I pretty much had a business deal where I we drove traffic to her site to help people hear her ideas, we did a revenue share, and eventually it all fell apart. which was an unfortunate thing.

Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to talk to Yvette since all of the criticism began, I’m ore of a guy who, if I have a problem with you, I’m not going to go write a story and post it on the internet. I’m the type of guy where I’m going to pick up the phone and call you.

If you’re out there, people can get clicks and views by getting on the internet and talking about what a terrible person you are. I don’t think that’s beneficial, but it is, what it is. It’s life.
EURweb.com: Why do you think ADOS didn’t get the backing from the community that it could have?

ADOS, this idea of being a descendant of slaves, a lot of us are ADOS. But not so much a part of the organization. I believe ADOS missed a huge opportunity. Because millions of people wanted to embrace ADOS.

Even with Black Lives Matter. A lot of people wanted to be in ADOS, but the problem was you have a lot of ego or you have leaders that don’t quite know how to lead with the humility necessary to take a movement to the next level. Let’s just be clear, Yvette and Tone, I helped them get their start and I really got the since that they engaged in a lot of clout chasing.

Kind of like ‘I want people to know my name more than I want them to know the ideals behind my movement.’ When you try to make yourself bigger than your cause, you’re going to end up losing a lot of people that way. Maybe they’re happy where they are, maybe they’re getting the success they had always been looking for.

I think I said something awhile ago that was in support of the ADOS movement, and she said something like ‘You’re a part of our movement, blah, blah, blah.’ I said ‘Okay, no problem.’

But if I had the chance to turn my so called enemy into my friend and work together with this person to help my movement go to the next level? I’d do that. That kind of rational leadership helps take movements to the next level.

Unfortunately, a lot of the people who are internet personalities are rejects in almost every other area of their lives and have all kinds of issues, but their feeds are very popular because we like to see that person going crazy and having some sort of bi-polar meltdown.

It’s very unfortunate because a lot of people empathize with that movement. But if you get past the specifics of ‘Am I FBA or ADOS?’, if you really look at them closely, what’s FBA? Foundational Black American. What’s ADOS? American Descendant of Slaves. There’s a lot of overlap there, if you get past all this unilateral affiliation to one movement, and get past these rivalries and this Burger King versus McDonalds kind of nonsense.

For those who are rational enough to just say ‘Well, you know, I’m not going to get behind any particular leader, I just know that all these good ideas are going to shape my core values, and also effect how I’m going to approach the next election.’ I think Black people can get something out of this. Then we can go into the next election and say ‘Yeah, we all agree that reparations are necessary. I think that’s where we can unify.’

The Future of the Black Conservative

EURweb.com: After the failures of the Trump Administration, and the stench it left on those allied with it, what’s next for the Black conservative in America?

Dr. Watkins: I don’t know about individual people and what they’re doing, man. I’m just trying to do what I do everyday. I have a lot of respect for Black conservatives as long as we unify around the idea that whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it because we believe that’s what’s best for the community.’ I don’t know whether I’m a liberal or conservative, it really depends on what question you ask me about.

I think that Black conservatives are establishing a kind of sovereignty and equity with their movement. I think that Black people, generally, are pretty conservative people.

We want to raise our families, we want to protect our kids, we want to build wealth, and a lot of things that people consider conservative, can make a huge contribution to the community as long as they don’t get caught up in following around white people.

Allowing Donald Trump to tell you what your conservative values are supposed to be and getting caught up in the Republican party, because the Republican party still has a lot of issues. They don’t address a lot of the things our community really needs.

Really, neither party is addressing reparations or the impact the War on Drugs had on our families or how we can begin to repair and invigorate our families, how institute criminal justice reform by going into prisons and reevaluating these thousands and thousands of Black men and women who were locked up under the Biden/Clinton Crime Bill who are still in jail right now. Got locked up in 1998 on a RICO charge? You should be out by now.

“Black People First!”

So, I think that the Black conservative can be a part of that and I would encourage people in the community adapt what I believe to be an appropriate ideology, which is Black people first.
If you and I sit down, we are both Black men first, who have our own views about what we believe is best for the community.

Then, later we can talk about being a Democrat and Republican, or I’m gay and you’re straight, or your gay and I’m straight, whatever. I personally think those issues should be secondary, because all of those issues, the gender issues, the political party issues, those issues are designed to create division within the community.

I personally enjoy challenging myself to say, can I sit down with another Black person who has an ideology that’s almost completely different than my own, I think that I can do that and I think that other people should consider doing that as well.

Ricardo A. Hazell
Ricardo A. Hazell began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the Editor & Publisher Co. In August 1998, Mr. Hazell began writing for for Rabercom Enterprises as the first lead writer for the then burgeoning newsletter and web portal, EURweb.com. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post, Black Enterprise and he helped define culture within the professional and collegiate sports as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Today he continues to cover culture via articles and essays published at HipHopDX and EURweb.com, respectively. Forever striving to evolve as a editor, writer and author, Ricardo is currently working on several autobiographical works as a premium ghostwriter for @StoryTerrace.

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