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by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Maria Lloyd recently wrote an article in which it was claimed that the rapper Jay-Z was rejected by a career counselor at Harvard University as an appropriate business role model. I am not sure of the exact circumstances of the student’s allegation, and I am not sure if other Harvard faculty agreed. All I know is that a young woman said that she admired Jay-Z for what he’s achieved in the business world, and she was s**t down faster than an unidentified single engine plane flying over the White House.
When I read the article, it made me sad and a little bit disgusted. I don’t like Jay-Z very much, to be honest. Although he is nothing short of a lyrical genius, I am deeply concerned about any man who earns over $60 million dollars in a year and only gives $6,000 to charity. I had to agree with Harry Belafonte when he said that today’s black artists, namely Jay-Z and Beyonce, are ignoring their social responsibility by refusing to fight on the issues affecting black America, including violence, poverty, unemployment and mass incarceration. Also, the idea of making millions of dollars by promoting yourself as a “n***a in Paris” to white people around the world is the epitome of a modern day minstrel show.
But in Jay-Z’s defense, I must say that any business school professor who doesn’t believe that students can learn from him is d**d WRONG.
I’ve taught in various business schools over the last 19 years. One of the most interesting things about teaching in a school of business is that you quickly find that most business school professors don’t know how to go out and actually make money. Sure, they’re experts at producing highly-complicated research papers that no one is ever going to read. But when asked to go into the real world to show that they can do the things they’re teaching students to do, most of them fail the test.