On Juicy J, Boyce Watkins And The “Twerking Scholarship” That Fooled America

01.14.14 4 years ago 47 Comments

Well, well, well. Looks like Juicy J outsmarted the Internet, delivered a $50K scholarship and a large serving of humble pie in one fell swoop. Let’s start at the beginning.

A few months back, Juicy J said he would offer a scholarship to the person who sent a video as to why she deserved the money. This giveaway coincided with his track “Scholarship” about twerking for enough money that he’d pay a woman’s tuition. The initial news about the scholarship came from a since-deleted tweet in which Juicy J said he’d give the money to the woman who could twerk the best. However, when the scholarship video officially hit the net and the rules were stated, twerking wasn’t mentioned anywhere – a fact we even noticed back when it was announced. Well, you know how the Internet works…next thing you know word spread that Juicy J was offering $50K to the woman who twerked the best.

One of those people who fell for the okie dole was pseudo-intellectual pop culture troll Dr. Boyce Watkins. You may know Dr. Watkins from such headlines as “Jay-Z and Beyonce Drop $100,000 on Drinks at the Club- Why You Don’t Want to Do This”” and an article on Lord Infamous’ death that featured the deceased rapper’s mugshot and a rant about how drugs and rap culture were leading to young deaths though there isn’t any proven relation between illicit activity and his passing.

Dr. Watkins, a once-respected voice in the Black community, has devolved into a caricature of an ill-informed, click-baiting writer who paints rap in such broad strokes that he loses an entire generation. Clearly, he showed the same ability to read actual instructions as a twerking teenager because he thought the Juicy J scholarship was for twerking ability. I wonder what rap music Watkins listened to as a kid to ruin his reading comprehension skills. Anyway, here was his take:

I’ll admit that, as a father, I was taken aback to see my fellow scholar Melissa Harris Perry encouraging a young woman to twerk her way through school. As part of a segment on MSNBC, Perry congratulated University of Texas student Kimani Parker on applying for the “Twerking Scholarship” that was offered by the rapper Juicy J.

During the interesting conversation, the highly intelligent Parker explains how a trip overseas helped her to understand the cultural context of twerking, which led her to feel a little bit better about being an exotic dancer. Kimari had been, perhaps unfairly, subjected to the ridicule and shame that might come for any person who shows their body for money.

I’ll have to confess that I’m not sure how my mother would have felt if I’d paid for college by shaking my pen?s for women instead of studying all night and working three jobs. Perhaps I could have argued that I was empowering myself, and that the “Wiener-wobble contest” I won allowed me to pursue my PhD in Finance. This argument might not have worked, because at the end of the day, my mother would have reminded me that, even as a man, I should be earning with my big head and not my other one.

But that’s just my family.


The beauty in all of this, of course, is that Juicy J was never offering a twerking scholarship. Above is the video of him offering the scholarship.

Nowhere in the video does he say that anyone should twerk. Nowhere in the video does he ask women to DEMEAN themselves by alley-hooping their coochies in the air or whatever vile description is given to twerking these days. All he asked for was an explanation as to why someone should get the money.

That’s where Zaire Holmes comes in.

She’s a 19-year-old single mother who took the novel approach: she read the actual instructions. Her video, seen below, moved Juicy J enough that he gave her the money so she could pursue her goals of being a doctor.

To be fair, Watkins wasn’t alone in his haste. Melissa Harris-Perry did a feature on the twerking scholarship and most of the Internet thought the money would be given based on an ability to a$$ shake. However, Juicy J is smarter than anyone gives him credit for, as indicated by his ability to reinvent himself and stay as fresh as any rapper his age.

So, what’s the negative spin here? Only Boyce Watkins knows.

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