Jamarlin Martin talks to Dr. Boyce Watkins, founder and CEO of Watkins Media Group, about Black self-determination and Kanye West bangin' for MAGA. They also revisit Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech, and whether he received a fair trial.
This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jamarlin Martin: You're listening to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin. We have a go hard or go home approach as we talk to the leading tech leaders, politicians and influencers. Let's GHOGH! Alright, we have Dr Boyce Watkins on GHOGH. We're here in downtown Miami. Let's dive right in. Let's GHOGH. How's it going?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Going good brother. How are you today?
Jamarlin Martin: Pretty good. Pretty good. Thanks for coming down to south Florida.
Dr Boyce Watkins: The pleasure is all mine.
Jamarlin Martin: Dr Boyce and I, we went fishing yesterday. You want to talk a little bit about that experience? Or, we tried to go fishing yesterday...
Dr Boyce Watkins: Man, you know what, it was great. It was great going fishing with you because I've known you for years and respected you from afar for a long time. And so I felt like that trip, even though I hadn't fished for a long time, it was a trip I looked forward to because when you've got all that time, you're just talking and kind of getting to know each other and getting to know each other's point of view. That was the great part about it. The downside was that I learned on that trip that motion sickness is real. It ain't a figment of your imagination and I went live on Facebook while we were out in the water and the water got rough, and I was holding onto that pole and of course the next thing you know, everything I ate for breakfast is going out the side of the ship. And it was funny. Later on when I got back, one of the brothers on my Facebook page hit me up and he said, Doc, I warned you. I warned you. Go look. I warned you. I looked back and he had warned me, he said, stop holding onto that pole because you're focused on one spot and that's gonna make you get seasick. And he was right.
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. But those waves were pretty severe. Talk about the first time we met, because you refreshed my memory, we met at Columbia University. You were on a panel. Was that like maybe six, seven years ago?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. It was a panel for Madame Noire if I recall. And it had to do with the relationships with the black community and I don't remember what year was. Was it 2012?
Jamarlin Martin: Sounds about right.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. That was an excellent panel. And I had a great time, and you know, my God daughter, she's my daughter. I mean, I walked her down the aisle and she calls me when she needs money. So I guess that makes me the dad. She actually went to Columbia too, so I was down there a lot then and it was an honor to be a part of that.
Jamarlin Martin: Remember my question? I walked up to the panel and everybody was like racism in schools and this and that.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I remember it very well. I remember that my thinking during the panel when you came up and asked the question was I thought it was very interesting that you had a real powerful, almost like what I called the incongnegro way of kind of running things, like you went out front, you didn't come up to me as a Diddy type person that's like, look at me, look at me, but I knew you were the CEO of the company. Right? And so when you came up, they asked the question, I think the people in the audience, they just thought you were just some guy. And even the panelists, I don't even know if the panelists all knew. So I was sitting, I was like, oh, he's got a question, what's this? And you ask the question that really showed me that you have a way of thinking that's a little bit different from what we're used to in the community. You stepped into that very dangerous space of critical analysis and saying, okay, let's look at what we're doing, let's look at our shit, what are we doing as a community that we can be doing better? And that was a complete flip on the tone of the discussion to that point
Jamarlin Martin: From the panel.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right. The discussion to that point was, this is what white people are doing, white people doing this, they're doing that. Yeah. We know all of that, you know, white people ain't never gonna stop being white. But then it's like, okay, what about our own empowerment? What about our own freedom to make choices? What about our own freedom to shape our own narrative or to at least fight back, and people didn't like that. They don't like it because I think it reeked of accountability.
Jamarlin Martin: My memory of that is you have the panelists talking about what the schools are doing to our kids, the teachers, the institutions. In my family, I have teachers, I grew up around black teachers and I have friends who became teachers from high school. One guy, he was teaching in Gardena, California, and he talked about how the kids used to come to Gardena High School and started shooting. They would be punching teachers, it was just a war zone. And my thought, just based on my own experience and observation is that our kids, black kids are going to the schools with so much dysfunction, so much behavioral issues I believe related to white supremacy. But the bottom line is there's something going on in the homes, there's something going on in the hood, there's something going on in the community where when they bring that stuff, that baggage to the school, that teacher is not equipped to be therapist, to be psychologist, to be all these different things that a lot of these kids need. It's not to say that there's not racism in the schools or these schools are not harming our kids. But I think there's two sides to that story in terms of what type of bad shit are these kids bringing into the school that's related to their parents, their family, their community, to the hood and some of the cultural norms that have been accepted in the community.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. You know, it's, it's, it's one of those tough never-ending debacles. You're going down a rabbit hole where the exit becomes the entrance and the entrance becomes the exit. What I mean by that is, no matter what dysfunctional bullshit somebody does in their life, there's always a source of that. It always came from somewhere they were taught that, they were exposed as some trauma. It came from something environmental that shaped who they are. And there's always the ability to pass that buck back and to say, so and so molests children. And everybody's like, well, lock him up. That's unacceptable. But then they say, no, the reason he molests children is because he was molested as a child. And if you'd grown up in that environment, you might be molesting children too. Right? So then somebody could say, oh, okay, so let's not hold him accountable for that. Let's blame it on what happened in his environment. It's really his dad who did it right? But then someone says, no, but don't hold the dad accountable because the dad was molested when he was a kid. Right? And you can just keep going. We don't do that when it comes to crime, where people are being hurt, we make a decision, we say, okay, the buck must stop somewhere. The buck stops with. We know your daddy molested you. We know you went through some stuff, but we're not gonna let you do that. And it's a rough thing to do, as a social worker or someone who's overly sensitive may not agree with that. They may say, no, but you can't really blame him totally because it's not his fault. Look at the environment, etc. We understand all that, but he's hurting children and he's perpetuating a cycle that is not healthy for the community. The same thing can be said about the kid that comes to school, who is getting into shit. He wants to bring a gun, he wants to pick fights.
Jamarlin Martin: I was one of those kids, so I have a personal experience.
Dr Boyce Watkins: You brought a gun?
Jamarlin Martin: No, but I used to go to school, get in fights. I was not a role model student in elementary, junior high school. And so in thinking about the issues with our kids objectively, I was bringing stuff to the school.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Well, I was a troublemaker too. I got into a lot of trouble at school. I mean I was always in detention. I never made good grades. If I went to school now, with the zero tolerance shit that they have. If I were in school right now, I would not have ever gone to college cause I would have ended up in jail. There's no question about it. I just think of among many incidents, I remember one time being so angry at this white boy in my class, I remember picking up the desk and slamming it on his head and beating the hell out of him. And I'm not a violent person, but he had pushed me to a breaking point and I just lost it. I was 15. I just lost it. And you do that now they got you in handcuffs, you're going to, they got prison on training wheels now for the kids, they want to make sure they lock black kids up as early as possible. I wouldn't have been who I am now because I never would have had a chance to evolve.
Jamarlin Martin: What's interesting about you is something that I can relate to is that, when you talk about holding our own community, holding accountable, starting as an individual, typically that's associated with an uncle Tom that's associated with somebody who's not pro-black, you're blaming the victims, you're letting white folks off the hook, but I believe your brand and philosophy, it doesn't cut in those kind of conventional boxes where you're talking about holding our own people accountable, holding ourselves accountable and you're pro-black simultaneously. It's not like it's a republican thing. The most pro-black thing you can do is take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable and you can still bang back at the white man and still band back at America and still bang back at the republican party and still bang back at the democrats.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. The key idea, and this is not something I invented or any of us invented, It's been around a long time. I think Farrakhan has that, that's one of the reasons why people love him, but they'll hear his criticism. Chris Rock has that, actually as a comedian., You go back to the Marcus Garvyes of the world, etc, and what that is is that accountability has to be a 360 thing. You gotta be willing to hold everybody accountable. You can't use sort of unilateral accountability in order to allow everyone else to escape any culpability, any responsibility for what's happened. So if you're holding black people accountable and you let some republican hoist you up and say, well, look, we've got this negro on Fox News, he's going to explain why black people should be held accountable for their choices. Well then basically what you've done is you've taken what is a complex process. You're taking a process that is complicated and you're making it overly simple, right? You're taking something that should be multidimensional and you're making a one dimensional, right? You're reducing something that can be powerful and impactful and beautiful and making it into a cartoon, because ultimately if I'm talking about black accountability, I got to talk about white accountability, but then when I talk about white accountability, I circle back around to black accountability, back and forth, right? It's recursive, that's the word. Where A affects B, which affects A, which affects B, right? So ultimately the is very, very simple. You can still talk about oppression, you can still talk about what white folks have done and you can still talk about everything that's happened in this country and still talk about what black people can and should be doing to improve our condition.
Jamarlin Martin: And let's take it back. So, doing for self, personal responsibility, accountability, those were part of the key ingredients of black nationalism, right? So you have Marcus Garvey, he's building a nation within a nation. He's all about doing for self, Africans for Africans. So doing for self is a black thing. After Marcus Garvey, you have the honorable Elijah Muhammad. He's talking about doing for self, you start to see the black barbershops, the black bookstores, the black restaurants, the black mosques. Elijah Mohammed, then Malcolm X, they are building institutions doing for self. They're not asking, they're not begging, they're just going out and doing the damn thing, and they're doing the damn thing at the same time saying that we need some type of cultural behavioral optimization. It's not just going to be, we're going to sit here banging on the white man, we're going to go into the streets, we're going to go into the community and we need to optimize our culture. We need to optimize our behavior. So you have self-determination, doing for self, personal accountability. That's on the hardest black side from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X. What happens in the seventies and eighties where you ripped that out of the kind of more black nationalist position and now it just seems like everyone is drunk on, we're just going to bang on the white man. We're just going to bang on Donald Trump. We're just going to bang on the republican party. That's really black national miss banging against white folks only.
Dr Boyce Watkins: You know, what happened to us was the tragedy of integration. Not because integration itself is a bad thing. But it was a tragedy because of the way was executed. It was tragic because it wasn't an adequate partnership. It became an ugly kind of co-dependence that left us much weaker than we were before. I don't think anybody would disagree with the idea that black people should be able to shop wherever we want, live in any neighborhood, be around whoever we want to be. There's nothing wrong with that. The problem was that integration was poor in its execution because of the motivations on both sides. White folks didn't integrate us because they really wanted us to be equal and to really be full partners in this society. They integrated us because they needed a servants they needed, they wanted our consumer dollars. They want to negroes to come work for them. They wanted to get access to the best athletes in the world in the negro leagues, they wanted to get access to all the things that we had going on business-wise. And if you look back at the data, we have far more businesses back then than we have now. You know, there were tons of black insurance companies and banks and everything else. They all died in integration, right? So their incentives were not pure for freedom for why they wanted to do integration. Now on our behalf, our problem was that we weren't ready to enter into a inappropriate negotiation for that integration. If we make a business deal, if I show up to the table and I'm like, 'sir, I'm just so happy to be here and I'm so happy that you're just giving me an opportunity. I'll take any thing that you offer me, just please just let me in because it'll make me a better person and I'll feel better about who I am as a person because I have no self esteem. I have nothing. Everything I got ain't shit. If I'm not attached to you, then I'm nothing.' Right? That was the mindset of the negro. When integration took place, our mindset was, I need to be next to the white man because the white man gives me my humanity. His ice is colder, his neighborhoods are better. I want to be in the major leagues because why in the hell would I ever want to be in the negro leagues? And so ultimately that oppression is a partnership. So we're saying, look, we know we're inferior. We want to be connected to you so we can feel better about ourselves. And they're saying, yeah, we know you're inferior too, so we'll let you in.
Jamarlin Martin: If you're interested in advertising on the GHOGH podcast, you can go to www.moguldom.com/ghogh. Once you're there, you can click on the advertise button in the top right. Let's GHOGH! It sounds like you're saying that when you look at the strong self-determination values with black nationalists, with some of our black leaders, that when the gates were open with integration, that ideology becomes corrupted and diluted. There's nothing to revert back to in terms of self-determination. I just feel like there's so much weight on external things and it is taboo at this point to focus on stuff that we can do in-house.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I agree with you. When you think about integration and why it was just a failed strategy or the execution failed, is that any negotiation requires you to at least have the ability to walk away from the table. You got to have something to go to so that if the deal that you're offered is not good enough, you can say thank you, but I'm going to be over here in case you change your mind. Right? That's why we lose in politics because we have nowhere to go when we leave the democratic party, so we take whatever shit the democrats want to give us, right? So with integration, if you imagine integration done more appropriately, it will be a situation like this where we say, you know what, we want to partner with you because you got something we want and we got something you want. And we know that partnership is going to benefit everybody. Trade benefits every nation, right? Um, but what we got as valuable, and we know this, we know that the negro leagues has the best players in the world. And being in the major leagues, it really isn't a big deal. We're actually going to an inferior organization, right? We know the value of our businesses and banks. They may not have as much money as yours, but they belong to us and in about a generation, they're going to be worth billions of dollars. So if we're going to trade, if we're going to work together, there have to be conditions in terms under which these partnerships take place. And I think that would've been a more appropriate integration. The integration was a good thing, it just wasn't done properly. Now to your point about what we can handle in house and what we can do internally, I think that was definitely lost. Anytime that you become overly dependent upon a pre-existing system that's run by other people, you lose your ability to do things on your own. It's like if I grow up in a house where somebody's cooking for me every time and every time I show up at the table, there's just a meal there. And let's say I don't even have a choice in what meals being served. I just eat whatever's on the table. Well, there's a good chance I'm not gonna ever learn how to cook. I'm never going to learn how to grow food. Or think about kids in school when they started using calculators in the second grade, what did the kids do? They lost their ability to do math by hand, right? So same thing is true here. We're dependent upon this system which loses our ability to develop systems of our own.
Jamarlin Martin: That leads right into Kanye West. He's a back in the news in a big way, saying some controversial things in my view. Some coonish things in terms of how he's expressing it. I think he may have very solid viewpoints on slave mentality, but I think he's just having trouble articulating that. I don't think he's expressing his ideas that well. Some of the stuff he's saying, I believe I kind of know where he's going and I agree, but the way he expresses it as a total fumble in terms of certain elements of what he's saying.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. Kanye, it's not a surprise that he's buddies with Donald Trump because they could probably both be defined as narcissists. I'm not a psychologist, but when I looked up the definition of narcissist, I know it applies to Trump and...
Jamarlin Martin: Or they both could be defined as white supremacists based on Kanye's pattern of behavior. Not just like one thing, like a guy has blonde hair, some people may want blonde hair. Hey, somebody wants blue eyes. Maybe they just want blue eyes. Someone who just always praises white folks. Maybe they just always want to praise white folks. Uh, someone who wants to bang for MAGA and kind dismiss slavery and racism. The pattern that I see with Kanye West, some black folks do believe in white supremacy at different degrees.
Dr Boyce Watkins: You're right. I know a lot of black people who are white supremacists. Some black people watching me on Facebook right now are white supremacists, they just don't know it. I think white supremacy really is, at least one way it can be defined, as this idea that just white is right. White is better. Right? A lot of black people I know.
Jamarlin Martin: Would you agree? It sounds like you're a soft Kanye West fan.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I wouldn't say Kanye West fan. I've never bought any of his stuff.
Jamarlin Martin: You just like that he kind of critiques the establishment.
Dr Boyce Watkins: No. What I'll say is it to the point about white supremacy, think about this. Think about how many black people you know who went to a white university because they feel the HBCUs are not as good, right? There are a lot of black people that you and I know who will spend money at a white business, ask no questions, but will avoid black businesses at any cost.
Jamarlin Martin: I would take issue with that choice. I graduated from an HBCU. I think what I heard some people say is when they're looking at their life outcomes, they have projected this in their head that when I go for a job, when I go for a loan, when I go for investment, I would prefer, I would make a rational choice. I would prefer that degree saying Stanford, that decreasing Harvard based on the probability to financial outcomes with one degree versus the other. And I'm reacting to white supremacy because I know that my Spelman degree, my Morehouse degree, my Hampton degree is going to be devalued. So as a rational actor within white supremacy, I'm going to make a rational choice where, hey, if I want to be a millionaire, it may be easier and it may be a better investment for me to go get a Stanford degree.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I agree with that. If you think about it, what would that really mean? Like white supremacy can be defined as both an idea in an observation, right? The idea is I believe why people are just inherently better at doing certain things. So I want to be down with them because they got the money, they got the power, they got the access, they got all the things that I feel like I need to survive. And observation could be driven by me saying, well, look at who's got the biggest businesses, who's controlling this society? White people. Who's got the nicest stores in the nicest neighborhoods? White people do. Who are the people building rocket ships to mars? Mostly white people, right? So, you know, I could easily say, well, the reason I believe that white people are superior is because what they've accomplished are a bunch of things that I don't know any black people that can do that. Right? So I think that the ability to kind of challenge that white supremacy, it's a complex thought. It's like if you are Lebron James and the Cavaliers have played against the Golden State Warriors five times in a row and the warriors have kicked their ass, right? And Lebron just says, you know, I think they might be a better basketball team. Well, he's kind of admitting to Warrior supremacy. Like I just believe that they're just better because they keep kicking our ass right now. Challenging warrior supremacy kind of means he has to have a little bit of an idealistic ability to disconnect from reality for a moment and kind of say, yeah, they are superior now, but if we get a franchise player on this team or we change our strategy, they don't always have to be superior, right? So most people who confront white supremacy are people that really have to be, and I include myself in this category, they have to be delusional enough and bold enough to say, yeah, there is some domination happening, but if we change our strategy, then we can get there.
Jamarlin Martin: If we change our strategy. Not the democratic party, not the republican party, if we change our strategy.
Dr Boyce Watkins: There you go. Fuck the democrats. Right? So my argument is, look, if you don't have the ability as black people to be critical of your strategy and of your culture, then you will never be able to confront white supremacy. That's like Lebron saying, we're going to eventually beat the Golden State Warriors, but we're going to keep playing exactly the same way we've been playing every time they kicked our ass.
Jamarlin Martin: When you listen to Kenya West, are you at the point where you say, hey, you know, I'm not going to criticize this brother. He's still a brother. I'm not going to criticize him. He's saying some things that are already being weaponized against oppressed, the poor, our people. He's saying some things that sounds very coonish. However, this brother is sick. Most likely, this is not a rational actor at this point that. There's some question on his mental stability and so that would possibly put him in a space where I'm not going to critique this guy.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think that criticizing Kanye is the easy thing to do. I think that's fine. I think it's valid, but I think that we're better off if after we finished criticizing him, I think it's interesting also to analyze the idea, not analyze him per se, but we can also analyze the idea that he's laid on the table and not everything that he said is totally crazy. Right? We know Kanye is a bombastic person. We know that he's an attention seeker. We know that he's getting publicity for his album. We know that he's, he does that by being a contrarian kind of saying things that are different from everybody else. And it's gotten him in a lot of weird situations like when he ran up on the stage with Taylor Swift, the other things that he's done over the years that have been interesting. And remember, politically speaking, I remember Obama called Kanye an idiot, right? Remember that?
Jamarlin Martin: A jackass.
Dr Boyce Watkins: A jackass. Yeah. So, I don't think he has love for Obama. So again, being trapped in that democrat-republican dichotomy that we are all in, maybe that's what's pushing him to the dark side, to the other side. Right? I don't know.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay. So it sounds like here's a guy, he moves from Chicago to Hollywood, Calabasas, whatever. But In terms of that Hollywood set. So I have white folks all around me. He's posted a lot of pictures of all these white guys giggling with him. They love being around Kanye. Look at this rich nigga like, man, Kanye is the best. He's so original. He's not like the other black people. He's brilliant. This guy Kanye is the greatest. But there's mostly white folks all around Kanye, the Kardashian clan. He's posting pictures of being around a lot of white Hollywood execs and just a lot of white folks around him. And so ordinarily for a black man, you're gonna have at least a few black people around who can soberly kinda talked to you about some of the things you want to do. Some of the things you're saying, and I feel like that natural black voice is not anywhere around him, so I can see some white folks probably saying, yeah, you know, doing this MAGA stuff and coming out like this, there's no sober reality-check in terms of how possibly he would want to position that or talk to him. And, and I think the world that he's in, the sick world that Kanye's in, in Hollywood in terms of these people around him, the enablers that were around Michael Jackson, for example, taking his money, looking to exploit, giggling no matter what type of psychological condition Michael Jackson was in, there was always white folks around getting something, giggling with him, allowing Michael Jackson just to do whatever he wants. If he wants to be a freak, we don't care. We're gonna giggle with you negro. Right? So with Kanye, he has all these enablers around, but there's no one sober who can tell him, hey, you want to be careful, you want to kind of think about some of these things you're seeing and how they can be hurtful to the community that supported you. And so I just think that he's in a sick Hollywood world where he can go to the press and tell them that I didn't want to be fat like Rob, and I got liposuction before my wedding. That sounds interesting. That's another thing that you don't hear brothers say, but Kanye is different. I think in that environment certain things is just kind of freestyle. You do anything. You need to lose weight. Just go get liposuction. A doctor can fix it. They fixed all of us, you know, hey Kanye, they can go fix you too.
Dr Boyce Watkins: You know, you're right. I think, If you look at it, what black men have hung out with the Kardashians and came normal. Right? What they got going on is just really strange, and somehow they get all this money from the way they manage these brands and become famous for just being famous. I guess they have this thing with black men, so they got all these brothers, rappers and basketball players around and just think about what went down with Lamar Odom. You do wonder, what's happening in that Kardashian household. And I also think Kanye, he's unfortunately, if he's not careful, he's building himself up to a Bill Cosby, OJ kind of situation. Let's say that Kanye ends up getting locked up for something. The black community are not going to be there for him. They're going to remember all of this and the white community will abandon him the same way they abandoned Tiger and OJ and Bill Cosby.
Jamarlin Martin: He'll come home.
Dr Boyce Watkins: He might come home or they'll string his ass up like they did all those other guys. Right? Here's the thing I would say to Kanye, if I were his friend. I wouldn't condemn his right to have a point of view and I wouldn't judge him for voting for Trump or whatever he did. I wouldn't vote for Trump, but I know black people who voted for Trump, they just don't tell nobody because they scared to be judged and attacked, which is a problem with the community, right? When everybody is forcing everyone to have one point of view, I don't think you win in that category. But then agaIn, that's my perspective. Right? So I judge people as individuals. If you voted for Trump, well tell me why. What makes you feel that he's going to be good?
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. To your point of coming home, I remember you didn't really see Michael Jackson speaking out on racial issues or getting political or doing anything for the majority of his career. But when white folks started charging him with molestation. When he was trying to renegotiate a deal with Sony, he comes to the community. It's time to talk about racism. I'm MJ, I'm in your hood now. So we have a pattern and I believe the black man is getting much more sophisticated in terms of, these black leaders or these black entertainers, they will pimp the community, they will take your support, but they're not really going to speak out for the people who don't have a voice. They're not going to risk their money. They're not going to risk their empire. They're going to keep it extra safe until they need, you, and then they'll come home.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I always say that black people are the political and economic whores of America, or side chicks. Right? If you look at the traditional relationship between the man and the side chick, he expects loyalty from her, but he doesn't give the loyalty back. He expects to be prioritized by her.
Jamarlin Martin: Side chick politics.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right. But he doesn't prioritize her. It's like, well I got my wife, look at my wonderful wife, at Christmas time I'm with my wife, Thanksgiving I'm with my wife. If my wife needs something, you're going to come second. But when I need you, I need you to be there. When I call you at 2:00 in the morning and I want some ass. I need you to be available. Right? And so ultimately for black people that low self esteem fits us right into that side chick category. You can't be prioritized if your self esteem doesn't allow you to believe that you should be a priority. The democratIc party, they see this, they see that self esteem issue. Just like a woman with low self esteem. Pimps aim for girls that have low self esteem or instability or don't have good father figures, right? Because they're thinking, okay, this is not the college-educated woman who thinks highly of herself, this is the woman where I can get her loyalty by telling her she's cute and buying her a bag of Cheetos, because nobody does that for her and so ultimately for black people, the democrats, they show up with barbecue chicken and a couple of empty promises and we're like, 'oh, thank you for acknowledging us'.
Jamarlin Martin: All I gotta do is bring out a couple of rappers. I got to go by your churches.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Exactly. And think about this. It's pimping 101. What does the pimp do? If the pimp knows that you don't have any critical thinking skill and you got low self esteem, he's going to wow you with a bunch of nonsense. He's going to get you giggly...
Jamarlin Martin: Here's the flaw too. A lot of Kanye defenders, where if he starts banging hard for MAGA, which a lot of us interpret as a high degree of white supremacy, higher in intensity of other expressions of white supremacy politically, at least this is the interpretation I believe of the masses in terms of what Donald Trump means when he says Make America Great, and in what Donald Trump believes in. So all because you critique Kanye West for banging for MAGA and what MAGA represents, what Fox News represents, all because you criticized Kanye West, doesn't mean the community is crip-walking for the democratic party. From my perspective, the black masses because of our culture and loyalty, we highly supported Barack Obama. We crip-walked for Barack Obama. We voted like no other people are going to vote for a candidate monolithically for Barack Obama. We turned out for Barack Obama, our cousins our aunties. We all went hard for Barack Obama. But, at least my experience, I don't see rappers, a lot of people in our community banging for the democratic party. We may back a candidate, we made like a candidate, but I think the consensus within the black community is no, I'm not going to bang for the democratic party like Kanye West is banging for MAGA, so it's a false kind of assumption that because I'm not with Kanye West and he's banging for MAGA, that doesn't mean I'm crip-walking for the democratic party. I banged for maybe Barack Obama and maybe some of these other candidates out there. But that doesn't mean we're excited about the democratic party.
Dr Boyce Watkins: That's true. I think everything you said is 100 percent correct. I personally think that we got to just take a moment. We got to have a freeze moment and ask ourselves why are we getting our political views from rappers anyway. Rappers are not typically the best qualified to do political analysis.
Jamarlin Martin: I'm going to tell you why. So I know I grew up with brothers. I grew up with brothers who did not have strong fathers. There wasn't a strong father present. There wasn't a strong father in their life and what I've seen with these brothers in the way they talk about rappers, into their twenties and thirties into their forties, is that these rappers, these hip hop artists, because there's so much delta in terms of the gap between the black men and the black father, if I'm not going to church, if I'm not going to the mosque, if I'm not going to any type of cultural center and I don't have a spiritual outlet, my father's not really involved in my life, that rapper comes in for a lot of black men as the prophet, as the father. And just my experience in LA in terms of how, I can't exclude totally myself from this, but a lot of black men, we grow up with these rappers and their messages in their guidance. And this is how you do things and this is what's cool. That void of the black father, that rapper has stepped in and he's the prophet, he's the father. And that's how people can listen to Kanye West and treat them like a prophet. And he sees that he's intelligent enough to see that I'm going to call myself Yeezus for you niggas, right? Or Jay-Z, he says I'm gonna call myself Hove. Right? And I believe the gap between the black men and the black father being a heavily weighted in their lives, that rapper has come in that door.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. And if you look at a rapper like a dad, a father figure, I hope it's the right rapper.
Jamarlin Martin: Have you heard black men talk with the reverence you would for like a father or a preacher or an imam or somebody. What's your personal experience in terms of how brothers have kind of held rappers on a pedestal beyond what you would a normal artist?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I mean brothers definitely do that, and the studies actually showed that black people actually follow the words and advice of entertainers more than other groups of people. Nielsen did a study on that. They pretty much went and told the white corporations, if you want to sell your product to black people, get get an entertainer to endorse it because black people are more susceptible to the viewpoints of entertainers. They're more influenced by that.
Jamarlin Martin: If I'm not getting my teaching from, complimenting my mother, and I'm getting the teaching from the father, I'm not in the church. I'm not in the mosque, I'm not in any of that stuff. Where's my guide is going to come from?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Right. And it's a scary thing because most of these rappers are controlled by you know who, white supremacist organizations.
Jamarlin Martin: I disagree with that. When you say control. Jay-Z with Rock-A-Fella, ROC NATION, was he controlled early on because they went to go do their own thing? There's nobody in a clan suit. There's no group that's in Jay-Zs head saying, write these lyrics, you're talking about this and that. There's nobody in the studio with Lil Wayne saying this and that. They may finance because they can see a profit, but I believe that the white mind that would invest in an X Clan, that would invest in a Public Enemy that in terms of the eighties and nineties, they invested in conscious rap because they saw a profit. But I don't buy into that these white folks are forcing these rappers to do anything. I mean, there's a partnership, as you discussed early on where we both want to make money. Let's make a deal.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I wouldn't say that they're forcing them. I would say that they're heavily incentivizing them to make certain choices. To me the power goes to whoever decides to greenlight your album, whoever decides to take it off the shelf and put it out. That's where the power is, right? It doesn't seem like they really tell you we need you to rap about bitches and hoes and guns and money and drugs and all that. I think that they do show a preference, right? Like for example, look at these crazy ass rappers they got out now, the ones that mumble looked like they dropped out of school and the second grade you got guys like, I'm talented, but the messages are a little disturbing I think for most normal people. Like Tekashi 6ix9ine, who's now considered the king of New York, even though he's openly gang banging and just saying a bunch of stuff. The rainbow hair guy. Yeah. Him and this other guy Trippie Redd, that he was beefing with, right? And somebody hit me up and said, well, you know, that Trippie Redd and Tekashi 6ix9ine, they're beefing, but they're both managed by the same Jewish guy. So, I do think that when you look at ownership in media...
Jamarlin Martin: Okay, now in that situation I can buy into, that this guy's helping them program and position and that he is involved. I think in that type of situation I buy into that, but in terms of the, the mainstream, I think that the music industry is investing net-net into artists that they feel can make a profit, that's a low probability. However, if the community's tastes was the change where there's 10 million black people to start buying J. Cole, who I love, right? He's a more conscious brother. But if we can show that we'll go out and support a J. Cole and by 10 million albums, right, then the attitudes of the investors and the executive changes, similar to Black Panther. People go out and they will break records with Wakanda, and this is a more positive movie than what we're used to. This is a more African-centered movie. And so the money will flow into more Wakandas. So again, I just think that there's a division between accountability of the establishment, in terms of the folks in power and what's going on with our tastes, what's going on with our choices that's driving these perverse economics?
Dr Boyce Watkins: Yeah. I think when I look at music industry, I'd be curious to see the data on who buys the most albums, right? I'm going to speculate that most hip hop albums are bought by white folks. They buy more than we do, more money per customer, that kind of thing because we might love it and we give the street cred to the wrapper. But the wrapper then sells the street cred to white folks there. They're the ones who back who provide that financial backing from what I understand. Right? The thing is that when you talk about the taste of music that becomes most popular, I think that when a white kid decides which type of negro I want to support, he ain't thinking at all about what's healthiest for the community. That college kid at Cornell ain't really worried about the impact of Tekashi 6ix9ine on black people. Kids in the hood might really good shot because somebody out gang banging because they've been influenced by this madness that's being mass promoted. He's just like, I think the music is hard, I think it's dope. So you present that white kid at Cornell, 'hey you can listen to Tekashi 6ix9ine, which is like banging and fun and radical and crazy, he's got a machine gun in the video, or you can listen to J. Cole who's going to give you some consciousness and some black power and some unity'. A lot of these white kids going to be like, no, I want this because maybe that's more exciting. They liked it for the same reason that we like gangster movies, you know, like a lot of people don't want to really see Italians on screen unless they in the mafia. Right?
Jamarlin Martin: I think I see where you're going. You're saying that a non-black consumers are driving the numbers, and so the black community is just going to get the artists who are really, really bad. Meaning that if the non-black consumer likes the really, really bad stuff...
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think that we are influenced by media, but as a community, we don't yet have the capital-base to influence the type of media that's really getting put out there. We're affected by the transaction. The rapper is making money from the white folks and they're passing this money. It's like there is a bridge and money in this transactions happening on the bridge and there's residue falling from the transaction. There's things falling off of this bridge. We're below being affected by what's falling, the fallout from the transaction. But we can't impact what's happening at the top. So basically, we're the ones whose communities get all fucked up because we got rappers here talking about murdering little kids and raping women and giving all their money away and going to prison. But for white folks it's entertainment. A white kid in college is not going to listen to a Tekashi 6ix9ine or to a Trippie Redd or a mumble rapper, or a Kodak Black and say, I want to be like him. He's like, no, that's the nigga who entertains me. I'm going to go work on Wall Street. But there are kids in the hood who look at a Kodak Black and say, oh, okay, that's what a black man is supposed to be. And that's why I think black people have to kind of speak out on this sort of media and actually develop media outlets of our ownn so we can kind of counter that.
Jamarlin Martin: So Cosby's been in the news. You've been very vocal about the injustice in terms of how that specific trial took place. You're not fighting for Cosby in general, you're not saying he's innocent of all charges, but you're looking at the detail of that specific case, which most people are not doing and you're saying, 'hey, this guy did not get a fair trial for this specific case'. What's interesting as kind of the more fanatical elements of the #metoo movement, of radical feminist movements as start to kind of touch the black community more and more. Would you say to the black community now believes in the justice system? So is it, I don't believe it when the cops are on trial and they get off, I don't believe in all these other cases, most of these cases, I see racism in a lot of these cases, but Cosby comes up and at least in the kind of social spirit, people believe in the justice system all of a sudden .They believe he got a fair deal. What's going on there?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think there are people who I think agree with the verdict on Cosby because let's be real...
Jamarlin Martin: The question is, did they read the details like you did? Did they go into the case specifically?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think there's different levels of how deep people go. I went pretty deep because I was really curious about this. I think that you have to start the conversation off about Cosby by admitting that he probably did something bad to somebody at some point. He probably did it right? But then if you really want to be intelligent about how you break it down, you got to think about what does justice really means, right? There's different definitions of justice. There's a justice according to our legal system, which means innocent until proven guilty. It means a guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. But then there's like mob vigilante justice, which is human nature. It's been used against us on many occasions. It's a situation where you think, yeah, that motherfucker probably did it, but we're gonna go get his ass tonight. He don't need no trial. We're gonna come get him. We going to have him hung and castrated by the morning. Right? That's another type of justice in the minds of some people.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you see a connection between OJ gets off and I believe he was guilty of murder, personally. I'm not talking about the specific case, but looking at the facts, I believe OJ is a murder. Okay. So OJ gets off, the community I believe, kind of taints the jury in terms of injection of race and there's a lot of politics. This could have a helped Cosby if he was connected to the community, I believe, that at this stage. But essentially OJ gets off and then he gets caught up in this robbery, it looks like this bogus charge and then now they got him. Do you see a similarity between, Cosby has been doing all this shit all these years, this case may not be rock solid, but because he's done so much in the past, we're going to get this nigga here this time?
Dr Boyce Watkins: It's very similar. Yeah. Because in both cases they were really found guilty by the American public of harming a white woman. If either one of those men had harmed a black woman, they probably would never have been on trial or they certainly wouldn't have had a conviction or anything like that. I think that's one issue. I think also you're looking at two guys who have become endeared by white America to a level that most black people will never understand. Remember OJ really thought he wasn't black no more because white people loved him that much. He was doing commercials and movies and shit, you know, he was really in like this whole other world that most black people never get access to and I personally don't want access to that world, but he was in a Kanye West kind of world, where he was completely detached from the realities of being black in America. Well, Bill Cosby, he's the jello pudding guy. Watching Bill Cosby, he was never funny to me. I was like, there must be a lot of white people who laugh at this shit. This isn't funny. His standup is like watching Seinfeld for me. I don't get Seinfeld, but Cosby Show, great show. I think Bill Cosby did hold it down to a point. He held it down in the way, Henry Ford used to do this. Bill Cosby loved black people in a way that said, I love you if you agree with me that my way of seeing the world is the right way. Right? So if you're black and you want to be middle class and be like Dr Huxtable and want to go to an HBCU and engage in good negro behavior, whatever that is for him, then he was good with that. But if you deviate, like if you name your son Kareem, you remember the poundcake speech or if you get locked up on a charge or if you have some form of radical blackness that he can't understand, then he condemned you. And I think that was a problem because that would, that reek of arrogance that reeked of him having a complete inability to accept other points of view. And that caused them to have a lot of enemies in the black community that I don't think he had to have. A lot of Bill Cosby's problems with black people could have been settled if he had learned the value of real, honest humility. He didn't have humility, he was very judgmental and that caused people like Dyson and others to come after him.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you believe he systematically sexually abused women. Systematically, not like he did it one time. See, when I looked at some of this Cosby stuff, a woman said that she voluntarily wanted to have sex with Bill Cosby back in the day, I believe it could have been the eighties. And what she said was he wanted the terms of the sex, she needed to kind of be asleep. So she's not accusing him of anything. This woman. But essentially her conclusion was he had some type of sexual fetish where he wanted his women unconscious. And when you look at the pattern in terms of the quaint ludes and kind of some of the other stuff, like you look at the patterns, it looks like he had some type of deviancy where he liked intercourse with unconscious women, which poses a legal problem in terms of nowadays. Right? This is a legal problem.
Dr Boyce Watkins: If that's the story, I have not seen that story, but that confirms something I had suspected, but I did not know for sure. I had always thought maybe this guy has a fetish where he likes to have sex with women who are unconscious. And the danger of that is that even if you're doing that legally, even if you're saying, hey, I want to give you a pill, put you to sleep so I can have sex with you while you're sleeping, you're opening yourself up to a lot of problems because that person can later on go back and say, I never consented to that.
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah and so, I had no feeling. I should've had feeling for Bill Cosby, I believe because he's done a lot of good in the community, a lot of good. When people make a mistake or they do something crazy, sometimes we can look at the whole picture, their whole life and then judge comprehensively. But when this case goes down and I looked at not like one speech, the poundcake speech. For many of you out there who don't remember the poundcake speech or are not aware of it, Cosby suggested that the black community, you guys are always crying about cops killing people, and he used an example of a black boy stealing a pound cake. And he said, you guys are out here marching, why did the boy steal the pound cake in the first place? And my reaction to that is, look at this massive hypocrite. You were going out stealing possibly a lot of cakes, unconscious cakes. And he's coming out to the hood. In my mind, he's going out to the projects, he's going out to the hood, attacking these poor women, the black community, he's being judgmental. He's Jesus, he's moralizing against the community. But when you look at his history, including confessions he has made, that they used to convict him this time in terms of what type of system was he setting up, meaning that it is documented that he would look for broken women. This is a very sick guy. He's looking for vulnerable, broken women. Women who need money. Women who need an opportunity in Hollywood. He's exploiting the vulnerability in women systematically, I believe, based on the information. And this guy's out here, moralizing and banging against our people who are poor, living in poverty. Why are you stealing food? You shouldn't be stealing food. Why are you crying about getting shot by the police? Don't cheat. Don't steal food in the first place. So when I look at this stuff and this guy obviously is a multimillionaire and he's banging against a lot of our people, there's no emotional connection, I believe for a lot of other black people. When he's convicted, when the white man finally gets you, nigga, there's no connectivity, maybe more so for the younger generation, but the connectivity, I don't think it was really there for Cosby in a way that he needed it.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Well you know, live by the sword, die by the sword. So, live by the white man, die by the white man. If that's the route you're going and that works for you, then that's the life you accept. We tend to be supported and protected by those with whom we form relationships and connections. So if I'm married to one woman and I say, 'hey, I'm going to divorce you so I can go marry this woman over here', then that means pretty much that any problems that I have in this new relationship are my problems to solve within the context of that relationship. I can't go to my old wife and say, 'hey honey, I got myself into some shit with this new girl. I need you to come have my back'. She's going to be like, no, you dumped me, you had interest in me. So Cosby, unfortunately, I wouldn't say he dumped the black community, but I think he definitely dissed the black community. I think that there's a huge sector of black people that he offended unnecessarily. I think there are a lot of people though who, you know, shower him legitimate and deserved praise for what he did with Fat Albert. The educational agenda of that show was remarkable. Nothing like that today. What he did with the Cosby Show. There's nothing like that today. A Different World, nothing like that today, right? $20,000,000 to Spelman, ain't no celebrities doing that today. So I think that he deserves credit for that. But remember, who's that going to appeal to? That's going to appeal to the educated class of black people, middle class and up. You're going to get that and appreciate that. I think those who are connected to what's happening in the streets and in the community and in the hoods around America, they can't point to a lot of things that Cosby did that really supported that group of people.
Jamarlin Martin: You mentioned Spelman. As you mentioned Bill Cosby gave $20,000,000 to Spelman College in 1988. They defunded a professorship in Cosby's name in 2015. If you were the president of Spelman and you started to see these legal cases and you started to read the cases and the testimonial cosby, do you, would you have defunded the Cosby professorship at Spelman?
Dr Boyce Watkins: I guess, the question is what does defunded mean. Does that mean they just took his name off of it?
Jamarlin Martin: Took the name of it. We're not representing Cosby with this program. Just to clarify, it's a professorship endowed by Bill Cosby.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Okay. So if defunding means that I'm giving the money back...
Jamarlin Martin: We're not going to name it this, we're not going to have this particular professorship, the Bill Cosby professor.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Well, if you're gonna take away Bill Cosby's name, you need to take off Bill Cosby's money. So if you're funding that professorship with money that Cosby put up in the endowment...
Jamarlin Martin: We already spent it.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Well, that's the thing. If it's an endowment, then that would mean it's supposed to be like a pile of capital that's used where the interest from the capital is used to fund...
Jamarlin Martin: But any endowment, at least for the HBCUs, a bigger proportion of endowment money goes towards funding ongoing operations than just investing. So I imagine that a lot of that money has been spent.
Dr Boyce Watkins: Now if they spent the night, they spent the initial capital, then that's one thing, right? But if they did what you know most universities are supposed to do, which is to preserve the capital and you live off of the returns from the investments, for the most part, then there should be something left. There's still a core there that funds that professorship, right? It's almost like if Cosby gave them a house and they say, we're renting this house and we're living off the rental income. Well if you take his name off the house, you give back to damn house. And that's the weird thing to me that these universities that are taking Cosby's name off of their school. Okay, that's fine. That's your right to do that. But I think that is also the right of people that have any common sense to stand back and say, hey man, you need to give the money back.
Jamarlin Martin: If I was president of Spelman, I would defund it if the facts showed that he was a systematic abuser of women. It doesn't sound like, hey, if I take money from you, that's fine, but all bets are off if you're going around shooting people, all bets are off if you do something really crazy that could really hurt the institution that you're investing in. If they could really hurt our reputation, I think our institution would be in their right mind to have the ability in the agreement to defund something or disassociate myself. If you want to start banging against black folks are banging against women or you want to start doing something that is not consistent with our values, we can take this name off. It's conditional.
Dr Boyce Watkins: I think they should. I mean, if it's in the agreement and they can do it legally, then I guess they're going to do what they're going to do and it's fine. I just think, if you took this man's money and the agreement was that we're connected. Now that means if my ship goes down, your ship will go down too. I think it's disingenuous to say we're going to take the name off, but we're not going to give the money back. It may be their legal right, but it's still tacky as hell.
Jamarlin Martin: Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @Jamarlinmartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That's M O G U L D O M dot com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let's GHOGH!
This podcast was edited for clarity.