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“REVOLT Black News Weekly” aired on Friday (Oct. 7) to discuss the water boy crisis in Atlanta, Georgia, Black cultural appropriation vs. appreciation, and Will Smith’s new film Emancipation. REVOLT guest host Lindsey Granger led the episode, titled “How New Orleans Became The Murder Capital, Atlanta’s Water Boyz In The Hood, And the HBCU vs. PWI Culture Conundrum.” She was joined by water boy entrepreneur Quintez Dixon, Thirst Trap filmmaker Sensei Chop, “Headwraps and Lipsticks: The Podcast” co-host Sierra Tribble, and Black Woman on a Mission founder Camille McCallum. REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough also brought viewers the latest in celebrity news, during which she interviewed Mary J. Blige.
Granger opened the episode by discussing a major issue in Atlanta, where young boys who sell water and other beverages at traffic lights are becoming hostile towards drivers. Greg “ILLHD” Williams, producer and creator of Water Boyz n the Hood, told REVOLT some of the youth are “lost” and are looking for a mentor to help them “find their way.”
“Selling water has become a viable alternative of something to do outside of committing crime,” he stated. “They all seem like they’re all together the water boys, but they’re not, so it’s a big competition thing, which is like a neighborhood territorial thing. They say the water boys are aggressive.” Granger moderated a chat with Dixon and Chop about the uptick in violence between water boys and those who drive through the city.
Dixon, who is a current water boy, admitted to REVOLT that some can be a bit aggressive at times. “I understand what they’re trying to do as far as make money and stay out of trouble because growing up in the system, it’s easy to get into trouble and hard to get out of,” he professed. “I commend them trying to stay out of trouble and stay on the right path, but I can agree that they can do it a little better and be a little more professional.”
Chop believes the business of selling water is a positive step for Atlanta’s youth and a way for them to become entrepreneurs. “During COVID, you saw a big spike of the craziness with the water boys. A lot of their parents lost their jobs, so a lot of these kids became the bread winners,” he informed. “If they weren’t out there to get money by any means, they might not be able to eat.”
Switching gears, Granger discussed the controversy around cultural appropriation versus appreciation after the University of Southern California (USC) created its first all-Black majorette team. The Cardinal Divas performed at a university game on Sept. 18 and Princess, one of the members of the team, took to Twitter to share the news.
She tweeted, “I created a majorette team at a [predominantly white institution] and performed at our first game…Thank you to my parents and to everyone who supported me along this LONG journey.” Princess’ tweet went viral and as a result, the Cardinal Divas received backlash from the Black community and were accused of cultural appropriation.
Granger led a chat with Tribble and McCallum to discuss whether HBCU traditions should be allowed to exist at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). Tribble, an alumna of North Carolina A&T, condemned the presence of HBCU culture on largely white campuses. “I think we need to be a little more careful about sharing our culture in [PWI] spaces and for me, it makes me a little bit uncomfortable to think that at some point, we will have people of other races engaging and interacting with our culture without paying respect and homage to it,” she opined.
McCallum, who is an alumna of the University of Mississippi, told Granger she supports the formation of the Cardinal Divas at USC. “I think when you’re at a PWI, you’re working so hard to carve out a space for yourself that feels Black along with a few other Black students that are there,” she explained. “So, we’re existing within our own little bubble in our own little community. Trying to create things and spaces for ourselves because the majority of the campus culture is not meant for us.”
Later in the show, McCullough hosted her “Entertainment Remix” segment, during which she interviewed Mary J. Blige, who praised Rihanna ahead of the Bajan star’s 2023 Super Bowl halftime performance. Earlier this year, the “Just Fine” singer headlined the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show along with Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. Blige expressed to McCullough that Rihanna is “a professional.” “She’s going to kill it. She’s got hit after hit after hit. She’s one of the most confident women in the game,” she continued.
During her segment, McCullough also highlighted Smith’s upcoming film Emancipation, which he helped produce. In the historic film, Smith plays a slave who faces challenges while seeking freedom. The Apple TV+ thriller is slated to be released on Dec. 2 and is eligible to be nominated for an Oscar, although Smith has been suspended from Academy events for 10 years after assaulting Chris Rock at the 2022 award ceremony.
Watch a quick clip from this week’s episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the next installment of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on REVOLT’s app.