Dr Boyce Watkins: Is bad parenting to blame for the success of BET?

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BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 - Show

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

When I bring up the psychological influence of white-owned companies like BET and Clear Channel, and the poison they consistently sprinkle onto black children (like giving awards and maximum airplay to Lil Wayne, an artist who proudly boasts about killing little babies, “shooting your grandmother up” and “leaving a n*ggaz brains on the street”) , someone almost inevitably says, “It’s up to parents to monitor what their children watch and listen to. If parents were to do a better job, there would be no problem.”

I agree that good parenting is important, but here’s another view:

1) Drugs, violence and incarceration have undermined the structure of the black family, so many homes don’t have good parents or any parents for that matter.

2) Even many good parents are frustrated that their kids are being bullied by kids who’ve gone through 10 years of “Thug Indoctrination” on the radio. One little girl told me about some girls beating her up at school (they called her a THOT, the term created by the rapper 2Chainz….it means “That Hoe Over There”), but said she can’t tell anybody because “they’ll beat me up for being a snitch.”

3) To tell people that good parenting is the catch-all solution for toxic musical influence is like letting a drug dealer sell crack in an elementary school and saying, “Well, good parents will tell their kids not to smoke crack.”

If parents should be held accountable for how they raise their kids, then record labels, radio conglomerates and television networks should be held accountable for the messages they promote to children. You can’t just blame the parents and then bop your head to your favorite Lil Wayne song while 82 young people were shot up in Chicago this weekend. This sh*t is real.

Speaking of white-owned companies like BET, I wonder if black people would be allowed to create and own a company called “Jewish Entertainment Television” and then promote messages telling Jews to demean themselves, kill each other, use drugs and call their women bitches and hoes? How would that work out?

In this interview, Dr. Monikah Ogando Halsey, a psychologist, explains exactly how toxic music impacts the minds of young children. So, ask yourself, “What happens when 10 million black boys are repeating the chorus ‘All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe’?”

A lot of “leaders” and public figures in the black community are getting paid by BET, and that’s why you’ll never see them confronted on an aggregate scale. So, I hope those who care about this issue will join me in asking these companies to hold themselves accountable. Years ago, FatherMichael Pfleger nearly went to prison after climbing on a billboard promoting violent gangster rap and spray painting over it. I don’t have half of this man’s courage, but I do believe that we should continue his important work.

As Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu said in the film “Hoodwinked”: “Life and death are created by the power of the tongue.” Music and media shape entire generations, which is why Hitler made media control an important part of his strategy.


Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and author of the audiobook, “Commercialized hip-hop, the gospel of self-destruction.”  To have Dr Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.