Fried Chicken, Liquor and Of Course, Flava Flav

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Last year, at the "Measuring the Movement" forum, hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, I had a chance to sit next to Chuck D from Public Enemy. I found Chuck to be as impressive, interesting and intelligent as he is on television. He also didn’t give off the mind-numbing, stomach-turning, arrogant celebrity vibe that I see all too much. I was thoroughly impressed.
While I feel that I have some understanding of Chuck D, I simply cannot say the same for Flava Flav. Flava almost seems to come out of a different time, place, and perhaps even another planet, from the rest of us. He would have been great in the 1920s, when black performers could make a fortune by embracing ignorant stereotypes and engaging in ridiculous behavior. Flava seems to relish his role as the cultural clown, reminding all of us of exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King did NOT want our children to become.

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