Saturday, March 28, 2009

Syracuse Professor Says NCAA Needs Reform – Baltimore Sun Times

The voice on the other end of the phone is passionate, and he’s becoming more passionate by the second. His words grow louder and they fly out faster.

“I grew up in the streets,” he says. “I’ve seen pimps in action. I look at the NCAA and I say, ’Wow, these guys would make excellent street pimps.' What they say -- and I mean this in all seriousness - is what a street pimp would say to a prostitute.”

This isn’t some radio shock jock speaking. Dr. Boyce Watkins is an assistant professor of finance at Syracuse University. He’s in town tonight, delivering a lecture at Loyola College titled, “The Business of College Sports: Is the NCAA Playing Fairly?”

I ask him to explain tonight’s message a bit.

“The model under which the NCAA currently operates was designed without excessive commercialization in mind,” Watkins explains. “Since that time, you see where this amateur sports organization has become effectively a professional sports league that refuses to pay its employees.”

Ahhh, one of those you’re thinking. Kick sports off campus! Tear down the arenas! Set flames to the football field!

But Watkins insists he isn’t against college sports. In fact, he loves them. So I feel a bit better. See, March always brings about conflicted emotions. I love filling out the brackets and love following the tournaments -- even though there’s an undercurrent of hypocrisy, unfairness and disparity that fuels the whole show.

I admit: For me, there’s a sense of guilt.

The NCAA is in the middle of an 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS to broadcast tournament games. Coaches on the sidelines make seven figures a year, even though no one’s tuning in because they want to see what color tie John Calipari’s wearing. And shoe companies are pouring money into universities across the country by the truckload -- but the kids who have to wear the shoes don’t see a dime of it.

Click to read.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Black Scholar Boyce Watkins Challenges NCAA to Reform Itself

Here is the schedule for coming media appearances related to the call for NCAA reform by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University.

Boyce Watkins to discuss NCAA and Black athletes on WBCP Radio, Champagne, IL - 3/27/09

Boyce Watkins to appear on Gtown Radio - 3/26/09

Dr. Boyce on NPR to discuss NCAA - 3/26/09

Dr. Watkins to appear on XM Satellite Radio - 3/27/09

Dr Boyce in the Baltimore Sun-Times - 3/25/09

Dr. Boyce discusses the NCAA at Loyola College in Maryland - 3/24/09

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The NCAA vs. Black America: Why The Black Folks are Losing

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor of Finance at Syracuse University. He frequently appears on CNN, ESPN, and other news networks to discuss his innovative ideas for reforming college athletics. Bleacher Report was thrilled to have an opportunity to interview Dr. Watkins about his belief that college athletes should get paid.

1) People often say that the opportunity to receive a free education
is enough compensation for college athletes. What's wrong with that argument?

A free education is valuable, no one knows that better than a college professor.  The problem is that we can’t assume that $30,000 per year is fair compensation for any job.  If Tom Cruise stars in a blockbuster film, he is going to kick your butt if you try to pay him $30,000, even if you throw room and board in with it.  In America, you get paid what you’re worth.

I see many athletes who are literally responsible for bringing $20M per year into their campuses, yet their mothers are starving to death or homeless.  This should be a shame for us all, since I’ve never seen a D-I college coach’s mother go hungry.

2) If colleges could pay athletes, the wealthier schools would appear to have an advantage. Do you think there would need to be a salary cap or other measures put in place to ensure some parity in college sports?

I am not opposed to the idea of a salary cap, although I haven’t seen a salary cap for coaches.  My goal is not to support preferential treatment for athletes, I only endorse fairness.  I don’t see why coaches and athletes can’t have the same rules.  They are all under the same pressure to win, they are both treated as professionals and expected to produce as professionals.  This pressure doesn’t come from the fact that their campuses love sports so much, it’s because CAMPUSES WANT THE MONEY.   They are pushing these guys much harder on the court and the field than they do in the classroom, because good grades don’t pay university bills; only big wins bring in big paychecks.

But in terms of a salary cap, I would not be opposed to that.  The NCAA is lucky, since they are the only multi-billion sports league that can get away with paying their players 1/100 of what they are worth.  Players would be ecstatic to play for $150,000 per year, which is far less than the millions many of them would earn in a fair market system.  The money wouldn’t have to come from university budgets, they could start by sharing the money coaches get from shoe deals.  After all, the players are the ones we pay to see and they are the ones wearing the shoes.  But as a general rule, the Finance and free market capitalist in me doesn’t like the idea of any kind of government regulation restricting wages.  I am sure coaches wouldn’t like a cap on their wages either.

3) Do you think that recruits should be offered contracts by schools
based on the performance they showed in high school? How would one individual's contract differ from another?

I don’t think that we know all the answers to these questions, but one thing is true: The market knows ALL ANSWERS to ALL QUESTIONS.  In other words, if a player is the next Lebron James, then the schools know what he can do in terms of revenue generation.  I say let them bid it out and the highest bidder wins.  Seriously, who is to say that Rick Pitino is worth $3 million per year?  Nobody says it, there is a negotiation and the price that he gets is what he is worth.  The beauty about the free market is that when the market is fair, open, and efficient, no one gets more than what they are truly worth, since no one pays more than the value of the commodity.

What I love about the NCAA (who expends a tremendous amount of money on their propaganda machine) is that they do a good job of making it seem that paying the athletes would be excessively complicated and nearly impossible.  The problem is that they find a way to get around the complications when it’s time to bring in a coach for $4M dollars per year.  The market works out all complications, because you either get the deal done, or the game doesn’t happen.  They have a lot of PhDs working for them, and we are smart enough to help them work out the complications of their contracts.

The reality is that anyone who exploits someone else, whether it’s the NCAA or a pimp on the street, is always going to find a good excuse for keeping their money in their pocket.  I say this as a financial expert.  I am sure that when Billy Packer or Dick Vitale show up for their multi-million dollar paychecks, they wouldn’t want to hear any reasons that their money isn’t available.  For some reason, they expect athletes and their families to accept these excuses.

4) What should be done regarding sports that bring in very little revenue such as golf, tennis, and track? Would the contracts for these athletes be substantially less?

Yes, they would be.  That’s the way things work in the real world.  I am a professor, and some could argue that educating our youth is far more important than being a Hollywood actor.  However, I will always make less money than (and not be attractive enough to date) Angelina Jolie.  I accept that.

I find it most ironic that when individuals expect payment equity among young athletes, as well as gender equity, they almost never mention the necessity of such equity among the coaches.

Again, going back to a fair market, if an athlete brings revenue to the university, he/she should have the same rights of negotiation that coaches, administrators, corporate sponsors, and everyone else getting paid from his/her labor.  If you simply release the rules and let the market work, you will get the result you are looking for.

5) How would you like to reform the horrendous academic environment in college athletics?

I agree, the environment is horrific.  I’ve seen athletes admitted to college with no expectation that they are ever going to consider graduating.  Money is a drug, and a drug addiction can make any of us lower our standards.  Universities are no different, as many of them abandon their academic missions in exchange for the opportunity to earn a few million dollars off the next superstar from the ghetto.

We must remember that incentives roll downhill. A coach with high graduation rates and a low winning percentage would be fired, while a coach with low graduation rates and a high winning percentage is given a raise and promotion.  This shows blatant disregard for the value of academic success.  I see universities giving coaches blank checks for controlling every aspect of their players’ lives in order to get them ready to play, but they throw their hands up and negate their responsibility to see to it that these young men and women are getting educated.  The excuses are interesting: “We can’t make them study if they don’t want to!”  At the same time, the same coach who claims that he can’t make the athletes study miraculously finds a way to get 80 grown men awake at 6 am for intense weight lifting sessions.  They are able to motivate the athletes to do what coaches deem to be most important.

I don’t completely blame the coaches for these contradictions, I blame the campus.  Coaches understand that they are not going to be rewarded for academic achievement.  Winning, however, is key to their job security.  Campuses should take the lead in putting oversight in place that insures that academic progress is the most important part of any athletics program.  That means that if a player has practice the night before an exam, he/she misses practice.  If they have an exam during a game, they miss the game (even if it is a million dollar game on ESPN).  THAT, my friend, is the life of a student athlete. Right now, college athletes live the lives of professionals.

6) If you were named President of the NCAA, what other changes might you make other than compensating athletes?

I am hesitant to be an armchair quarterback on the NCAA, primarily because I believe that many of the administrators in the NCAA know that what they are doing is wrong.  In fact, Walter Byers, the former executive director of the NCAA has reversed his position and stated that athletes should be paid.  Honestly, anyone with common sense realizes that if you earn millions for someone else, you deserve more than a college scholarship.  I believe that Myles Brand, in spite of the propaganda exercise performed by he and CBS Sports last year (in an attempt to refute my analysis), knows that he would never allow himself or his coaches to operate under the same constraints, penalties and exploitation placed on athletes and their families (especially if his mother were getting evicted, as many of these players come from poverty).  In fact, I found it quite ironic that nearly every participant in the CBS sports special was earning at least a few hundred thousand dollars per year while simultaneously explaining to athletes and their families why they shouldn’t get any of that money.

Beyond paying the athletes, I would make a decision: either the NCAA is going to be a professional organization or an amateur one.  It’s not going to be a hybrid.  A truly amateur organization doesn’t have coaches earning as much as $4M dollars per year.  Coaches earn no more than, say, $80,000 per year.

  • An amateur organization doesn’t fire losing coaches with high graduation rates and reward winning coaches with low graduation rates—any coach hired by the NCAA is expected to not only teach at the university, he/she is expected to ensure that academic achievement is first and foremost in the life of each athlete.
  • The rules should disappear: why can’t players transfer to other schools without being penalized?  Coaches leave in the middle of the season all the time.  Why is it illegal for athletes to receive compensation from outside entities?  Coaches take money from whomever they please.   Athletes are given the same responsibilities as adults, told to behave as adults, yet we put rules in place that treat them like children.  Again, anyone who exploits another human being, whether it’s the NCAA or a corrupt warlord in a third world country, is going to place constraints on you and then guise his/her motivations by claiming that the rules are in place for your protection.  That is the consistent theme of the NCAA’s justification for controlling their student athletes.  But their desire to protect the athlete goes out the window when an athlete gets into trouble, loses his/her eligibility or loses his/her scholarship for not being able to perform on the field.
  • The NCAA needs to redefine its mission and be honest with the world.  Right now, it is an elephant with bunny ears, swearing that it’s nothing but a harmless little rabbit.  The truth is that the NCAA is exactly what it appears to be: a professional sports league.  So, rather than allowing me to become the head of the NCAA, I would rather be the head of the House Ways and Means Committee, which initiated an investigation into the NCAA and began to question its non-profit status.  A bureaucratic beast that has grown so deformed with contradictions needs to be deconstructed and rebuilt in a model of fairness.  As it stands, the NCAA exists in stark contrast to the values most of us embrace as Americans.  I’ve seen it up close over the past 15 years and it bothers the heck out of me.

Check out Dr. Watkins' website Your Black News. Your Black Life. Your Black World.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lawrence Watkins: How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

by Lawrence Watkins

Kevlar is a material that is five times stronger, but is lighter and more flexible than steel on an equal weight basis. It is used in many products ranging from bulletproof vests and cables to sports and audio equipment. It has been around for over 40 years and more uses are being discovered for this “wonder” material every day. When I think about goal setting, Kevlar provides a great analogy on how individuals should structure their inherent wants and desires for maximum clarity and performance. When creating the mastermind plan for your life, you should have strong goals that challenge you, yet have enough flexibility to change your path if a great new opportunity comes your way.

As Lewis Carroll eloquently said in Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where…” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

It is easy for a person to become diverted from fulfilling his/her passions and true calling. It becomes even easier if you do not have an end goal in mind, similar to the way Alice was feeling in Wonderland. I do not want you to be in Wonderland and you should not want to be! The most important thing is not for your goals and vision to be perfect. The most important thing is to aim for at least the general vicinity on where you want to be.

In the classic self-help book Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz talks about humans’ innate self-correcting mechanism. As humans, we have a trait that automatically guides us to self-improvement. Think about the basketball player who endlessly improves his/her jump shot or the foreigner who learns a second language well into adulthood. Each person has an end goal and they learn from their deliberate practices by correcting their mistakes when they veer from their original course. We can harness this self-correcting power to accelerate the goal achievement process. However, it all starts with knowing a general direction on where you want to go. You can relate this concept to riding a bike. Have you ever ridden a bike standing still? I haven’t. The bike only stays balanced as you are pedaling and pushing forward.

Now that we have talked about why creating a vision is important let’s get into the fundamentals of the life vision development process.

Developing your Kevlar Vision

There is a lot of debate on whether your overarching vision should be all encompassing or narrow in scope. Proponents of having a narrow vision say that this is to keep you focused on the end goal and enable you to not become distracted by items that do not line up with your plan. A simple example of this goal forming process would be to become a CEO of a Fortune 100 company whose work focuses on telecommunications. This vision is very focused and allows the goal-setter a specific task in which to focus.

Another strategy is to have your vision statement flexible and all encompassing. An example of this is Google. Their mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” No part of this mission has to do with creating a great search engine or text advertisements. This structure gives Google the freedom to change with the times and not have a myopic view of what it originally set out to accomplish.

I am a strong proponent of the Google strategy over the first example which gives a very focused vision. As I previously mentioned in a prior article, my mission is “to become a tycoon politically, socially, and economically so that I can have a positive impact on my community.” I originally developed this statement my junior year of college and I strategically tweak it every year. I use this statement as a guide to make both large and small decisions in my life. When I decided to forgo corporate America to start my own business, I used my mission statement as guidance. When it came time to decide on a business school, I continued to use this statement as a guide.

Use Backward Planning To Set Your Vision

Imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important events in your life. It will be held in a room big enough to hold your friends, family, and others who are important to you. The room is conservatively decorated and at the front is a large table with candles all around. In the middle of the table is a large box. What is in this box? YOU! It was a celebration of your life and there was not a dry eye in the place. Coming from the back of the room is an old friend with a tape recorder playing your voice. You are explaining to the people close to you about your life. How would this story go? What did you want out of life? What did you value most? Who did you wish to be? Answering these questions is the first step of developing your Kevlar vision.

Backward planning is a process of starting with your end goal(s) and working backwards to create an action plan to achieve the aforementioned goal. You cannot plan any further out than your funeral! Once you truthfully answer the previously questions, you can then work backward and think about what you need to do to turn your vision into a reality. Remember, the intermediate goals do not have to be concrete, just make them like Kevlar and rely on your self-correcting mechanisms to guide your course. Life is nothing but a series of decades, years, months, weeks and days. People always look far to the future and say that they want to live an extraordinary life. But how are you going to live an extraordinary life if you wake up thinking you want to have an ordinary day? Backward planning is an important step to an extraordinary life.

Guidelines for creating powerful goals

Chicken Soup for the Soul author, Jack Canfield, defines a goal as “the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.” I want to walk you through some of the attributes you may want to look for when deciding on your goals.

Your Most Important Goals Must be Yours

This sounds obvious, but many people have their life purpose created by someone else. These people may be your parents, a spouse, friends, etc. I have a friend who is a doctor at a prestigious hospital. He is making great money while helping sick patients become well. The only problem is that he is miserable. When asked why he went into medicine he states, “My grandfather was a doctor, my father is a doctor, so my parents told me I was going to be a doctor too.” You only have the chance to live life once. Do you really want to spend your life living someone else’s dreams? When you let someone else, or society, determine your definition of success, you are sabotaging your future. I do not condone lying, however, the last person you should ever lie to is yourself, especially when it comes to planning your life.

A technique that I use to make sure that my most important goals are my own is continuously asking myself one question. What do I really want out of life? The introspective process of regularly asking this question helps you to focus and organize your goals and determine what is really most important to you.

Your goals must be meaningful

The pursuit of meaningful goals will help you achieve greatness much quicker than the pursuit of non-meaningful goals. This is because meaningful goals are exciting and a person does not mind putting in the extra effort to accomplish them. This is analogous to school. Have you ever had a class that was too easy? The class was so easy that you did not offer the proper effort and instead of excelling you underperformed? Suddenly, the class that was a definite “A”, turned into a “B” or worse? I have done this numerous times. In fact, this was the story of my middle school and high school years. The classes did not challenge me enough and I did not perform anywhere near my highest potential or capability. Granted, in grade school you do not have as much control over your life compared to your adult years, however, individuals show symptoms of this problem well into their adult life.

Subsequently, total commitment to your goals is a critical ingredient if you want to be the best person you can be. This is true for both professional and personal goals. I recently finished the book Call Me Ted, which is an autobiography of the billionaire, Ted Turner. Turner’s father was a successful and wealthy billboard entrepreneur back in the 1960’s. Although successful in his career, the elder Turner was depressed and ended up committing suicide in his forties. In the book, Turner hypothesized why his father committed suicide. He is confident that the reason was that his father did not set his goals high enough, resulting in a lack of purpose for his life. Our situations may not be that dramatic, but as philosopher Jim Rohn once said,

“There are two major pains in life. One is the pain of discipline, the other is the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons when you allow your life to drift unfulfilled.”

Your goals must be measurable

Although your vision statement needs to be flexible and answer questions about your life’s intents and purposes, the intermediate goals and objectives need to be firm. Management guru Peter Drucker says that “What gets measured gets managed.” This is true in business and in life. Remember, a goal without a number is just a slogan. It is easier for your brain to operate day-to-day on concrete items as opposed to the abstract. Both are important, but concrete is more important to execution.


I cannot stress enough the importance of developing a strong, but flexible vision for one’s life. Do not underestimate the power of the self-correcting mechanism present within each of our lives. I use this concept when initially training people who work within my company. You will be surprised by what you can accomplish by aiming even for the general vicinity of your ultimate goal. If you do not remember anything else I have written, please remember one thing . . . If you aim for the stars, you will at least hit the moon! Always aim for something!

Lawrence Watkins is the CEO of the Great Black Speakers Bureau.  For more information, please visit

Monday, March 16, 2009

Delores Jones: Is Your Butt Too Big and In Your Own Face?


by Delores Jones

How many of us just hates when someone stands in front of us blocking our view, especially when we are sitting down in a seat like at a concert?  Now, you really can’t see or enjoy your favorite music artist that you paid, let’s say $90, to watch perform your favorite hit.      Tell the truth.  How many of you would touch the person blocking your view and ask them to move out of your way?  Others might just sit there and complain while missing out on what is happening because for whatever reason, he or she decides to do nothing.

     Earlier today I had a meeting with a client.  We met to help her identify what she believed she wanted and needed to do to better herself and her situation.  I simply asked one question, “what do you want to do?”  She said, “anything, I just need a job.”   Her response was desperate and too vague.  After a little coaching and conversation she said, “I really want to go to school.”

     With this in mind,  I told her that at the college level she could apply for a ‘work-study position” where the school she would  attend pays her a small stipend and allows flexible working hours for her to successfully complete her classes.  She looked surprised and slightly relieved until SHE starting talking about all of the past bad things that she had experienced while in school.  Fifteen years ago, she was told by a teacher that she had a learning disability and needed more time to read and process her work.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it.  It would only take her a little longer to finish.


Click to read.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Genma Holmes: Tavis Must Be Held Accountable Also

Genma Holmes

by Genma Holmes

While I was reading the lawsuit filed by the NAACP for predatory lending practices, my eyes kept returning to Wells Fargo. My something-smells-funny nose kept sniffing until I looked across my desk and saw the program guide from the recent State of the Black Union (SOTBU). In large font was the Wells Fargo logo, titlesponsor of the event. I wondered if the NAACP had any dialogue with Tavis Smiley prior to the lawsuit being filed. The bank that is being sued for institutionalized racism sponsors a think tank for black folks. (You cannot make this stuff up.)
Wells Fargo has sponsored the SOTBU for several years. SOTBU was the brainchild of Tavis Smiley and birthed from his weekly commentary on the Tom Joyer Morning Show. Tavis Smiley quit the TJMS in April of last year and moved on to other projects that needed more of his attention. One of those projects is to hold President Obama accountable for his political record and campaign promises made on the campaign trail as outlined in his recent book.
From his book:
“During the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, while I was still the resident political commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, I caused quite a stir among the listeners, who are largely African-American, by insisting that we hold then Senator Barack Obama accountable for both his political record and his campaign promises. I wasn’t singling him out, but rather applying the same standard to him that we should apply to all.
I feel now, as I did then, that it is our responsibility as engages citizens to expect now-President Barack Obama to live up to the promises that made him an appealing candidate… As Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail reminds us, ‘Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes from the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.’
So, let us take Dr. King’s lead… and go forth and make real the promise of our democracy.” -- Excerpted from the Foreword (pages xii-xiii)
The SOTBU website states "Some of the most influential thinkers, entertainers, and political leaders of our time gather each year to discuss the State of the Black Union during Black History Month. Presented annually in February by Tavis Smiley Presents, the symposium was created to educate, enlighten and empower America by bringing people together and engaging them in thoughtful dialogue, leading the way to constructive action."
The man who has written a book titled Accountable, has accepted sponsorship for years from a bank that is being accused of forcing blacks into subprime mortgages while whites with identical qualifications got lower rates. Class-action lawsuits were filed against Wells Fargo and HSBC in federal court in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was also the host city for the State of the Black Union.
My words may anger some but this is equivalent to a child molester opening up a neighborhood daycare center. It is this type of irony in the black community by leaders and organizations that keeps folks from getting ahead. "Leaders" play nice and accept money from the very organizations that causes the most harm and perpetuate media stereotypes. This happens in many communities but it is perverse in the communities of color.
Does this means Tavis is going to turn his journalistic intuition on Wells Fargo and hold them accountable? I hope so. These are serious charges being leveled at a time when banks that are behaving badly are receiving TARP bailouts. Is he going to compile the number of loans that were given to blacks vs. whites and research the information and give it to the board of directors of Wells Fargo? Will he ask for their resignations? Now that is taking action. Will he helped them be a better bank by helping them exam how they conduct business with people of color? Will he turn down their sponsorship next year and take their logo off his website with a link to their mortgage department? That would be worthy of an NAACP Image Award! Is this not what several of the panelist ask often when others accept sponsorship or advertisement from organizations that do not tow the line when allegations or perceived racist misconduct occur? All the time.
Tavis has always asked his listeners and viewers to be watchful and test everything and everyone. How did Wells Fargo allege predatory practices get around Tavis who would not allow then Senator Obama to campaign without a thorough scrutiny of the issues and his character? President Obama who has been on the national political scene less than ten years is being exam microscopically by Tavis. While SOTBU, Tavis and the same panelists year after year have held meetings with very loud megaphones on radio and television turned blind eyes to the practices of Wells Fargo and others. Practices that have gone on much longer than President Obama has been in the White House according to the time line stated in the NAACP lawsuit.
Many of the speakers at Tavis' 2009 SOTBU event were the same faces sitting in the audience for the 2009 NAACP Image Awards. The award show was televised on the Fox Network, which was the subject of a boycott. (You cannot make this up.) Some body's PR people are not talking to the other folks' legal department and the legal department is surely not talking to the marketing representatives. In the fragile world of sponsorship and raising dollars for mega events to show accountability, this sounds like a church split or at the very least biting the hands that sponsor/televise your events. This is enough to leave one confused and bewildered.


Click to read.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Black News: Syracuse Professor Boyce Watkins Says Chris Brown is Not a Monster

Click the image to watch the video.  In this clip, Dr. Boyce Watkins appears on CNN to say that “Chris Brown is not a monster”. 

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill on Michael Steele and the GOP

by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Columbia University

Over the past week, the political world has been tuned into a highly 
unusual soap opera involving Republican Committee Chair Michael Steele  and conservative radio jock Rush Limbaugh. After Limbaugh was publicly  lambasted for stating that he wanted President Obama’s agenda to fail,  Democratic leaders wisely used the moment as an opportunity to anoint  the polarizing pundit as the de facto leader of the GOP. Steele, the  actual leader of the party, dismissed Limbaugh as a mere “entertainer”  whose show trades in “ugly” and “incendiary” remarks. Limbaugh soon  fired back, telling Steele to do his job and to stop acting like a  “talking head media star.”

Of course, partisan infighting is not uncommon in politics –though 
such public spats are typically the property of the Democrats.  The 
difference, however, has been the party’s response. Instead of 
rallying around its newly appointed leader Steele, GOP honchos have 
either taken the side of Rush Limbaugh or remained conspicuously 
silent. Even Steele himself caved into Limbaugh, apologizing for his 
remarks and removing any lingering doubt about who the real don is.
By allowing Michael Steele to be publicly undressed by a party 
extremist, Republicans have tacitly confirmed what many of us already  knew: they haven’t changed one bit. Despite their post-November promises to rise above bitter partisanship, the GOP decided to cosign  Limbaugh’s antipatriotic machinations. Instead of living up to their  promise to broaden their message and appeal, Republicans have instead opted to defer to the steward of its most vile, ignorant, and bigoted  constituency. Most disturbingly, they have legitimized their antidemocratic enterprise by hiring a black man,  but giving him no more political muscle than the queen of England.

To be clear, I am not trying to diss Michael Steele, who I know 
personally and like a great deal despite our political differences. My 
concern is that the seductive aroma of power and prestige have 
diverted his attention from the harsh realities of his circumstance. 
Like many prominent African Americans, Steele has climbed the heights  of white society under the false premise that he is being judged purely on merit rather than color. This couldn’t be further from the  truth. While the Republican party is willing to use Steele’s black  face to celebrate its ostensible progress, it is equally committed to  reducing him to nothing more than a paper champion. Hopefully, Brother  Steele will stop drinking the Kool-Aid long enough to recognize this  and come back home.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Syracuse University’s Dr Boyce Watkins in Essence Magazine

Dr Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University, appears in the March issue of Essence Magazine to discuss money and investing in light of the 2009 Financial Crisis.

Dr. Watkins is one of the world’s leading experts in Finance and was the only African American in the world to earn a PhD in Finance during the year 2002.  For more information, please visit

Dr Watkins has been in Essence Magazine many times in the past, particularly due to his popular book, “Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with Your Partner in Ways that Feel Good.”

Friday, March 6, 2009

DL Hughley Finally Booted Off CNN


Comedian D.L. Hughley was pummeled by critics when his weekend talk show debuted on CNN last fall. "What the hell was CNN thinking?" a columnist forAdAge asked after watching the first episode. It remains unclear what was running through the minds of CNN execs when they signed him up for the spectacularly unfunny program featuring painfully awkward interviews. But the network may have come to its senses or at least decided to cut its losses. A source tells us that CNN has decided to cancel the show due to "budgetary constraints."

Click to read.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Boyce Watkins Keynotes Nat. Black Grad Student Assoc.

Dr Boyce Watkins will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 National Black Graduate Student Association Conference, to be held in Houston Texas March 11 - 15. The theme for this year's conference is “Engaged. Empowered. Expect It.”

NBGSA is a non-profit, student-run organization dedicated to encouraging the high-quality achievement of African-American students through academic, professional, and social programs.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is one of the world’s leading Black scholars and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?”  He was also the 2007 Black Speaker of the Year.  For more information, please visit

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Black Church: Our Interpretation


By Rev. Nicholas A. Pearce

Though often portrayed as a singular, monolithic entity, many scholars debate whether “the Black Church” truly exists. While the distinctive differences that have so long divided predominantly African-American Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and non-denominational churches are apparent, a potentially pernicious predicament currently demands our attention. While many people focus on the differences that exist among denominations and local churches, our attention must turn to one critical challenge we face within many of our churches. Young people are always labeled “The Church of Tomorrow,” which suggests two things: (1) that their spiritual gifts, leadership, and contributions are less meaningful, insignificant, and/or invalid at present and (2) the presupposition that tomorrow is promised. As countless young people leave the Church and still others sit restlessly in the pews waiting for a tomorrow deferred to finally arrive, the question we must confront is clear – when is “tomorrow” today?

The situation looks much like a track relay race. Our parents in the ministry were passed the baton of the Word of God by their parents and find themselves running the race of leadership as the next generation prepares in anticipation of receiving the baton in the exchange zone. Our forerunners in the ministry generally fall into one of three typological categories as they approach the exchange zone. (1) Some of our parents finish strong and cleanly pass on the baton to the next generation to run the next leg of the race. (2) Others of our parents, hearing the acclamation of the cheering crowd, decide to run an extra lap and skip the waiting generation in the exchange zone. Other racers with fresh legs soon pass by as these overzealous individuals run out of energy and solemnly realize that the baton was meant to be passed to the next generation. The overlooked and disenfranchised next generation ponders their befallen state and searches for other constructive outlets for their energy and talent that was intended to be expended in the race. (3) Still others of our parents approach the exchange zone with timidity, fearing that they will slowly fade out of the picture as they relinquish possession of the baton to a seemingly untested new generation. The combination of the outgoing generation’s insecure ambivalence to let go and the waiting generation’s consequent loss of self-assurance, the baton exchange is botched. No matter how well the previous lap had been run, no matter how talented the next runner may have been, the baton was dropped; the race was lost.

Does the Church have the luxury of leaving its young people and their gifts in a perpetual holding pattern, never to land? Can the Church afford to continue to mistakenly equate seniority with maturity as young people are prepared yet overlooked in the exchange zone? Will the Apostle Paul’s 1 Corinthians 12 treatise on unity in the body of Christ and the importance of each member thereof extend to a generation waiting to lead? Even a cursory glance at the state of the “Black Church” reveals an institution wrestling with its identity, struggling with being attractive while remaining authentic and grappling with the challenges and realities of a new day. Will an intensifying focus on devising better methods instead of making better men and women for the Kingdom of God cause the 21st century Black Church to institutionally marginalize itself? God forbid – but let us earnestly wait for the day when tomorrow becomes today and the next generation carries forward the baton of leadership.

Rev. Nicholas A. Pearce serves as Associate Minister of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, IL and is a doctoral candidate at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Contact: