Dr. Todd Boyd: Professor, Author, Media Commentator & Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture and Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts

My NativeAdVantage:


“Dr. B” is the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture and Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Dr. Boyd’s influential work as a public intellectual has consistently bridged the gap between the ivory tower and popular culture since the 1990s. He was producer/co-writer on the Paramount Pictures celebrated cult classic film The Wood (1999). He has been a regular contributor to ESPN, ESPN.com, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Jim Rome on Showtime, Chicago Tribune, and ESPN Classic. A prominent media commentator, Dr. Boyd is well known for appearing in numerous documentaries including, Twenty Feet From Stardom (2013), winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  Dr. Boyd has also appeared in Fresh Dressed (CNN, 2015), Richard Pryor: Icon (PBS, 2014), The Doctor (NBA TV, 2013), Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp (Showtime, 2012), The Godfather Legacy (History Channel, 2012), Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots (VH1, 2012), Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation (VH1, 2011), The Running Rebels of UNLV (HBO, 2011), Straight Outta LA (ESPN, “30 For 30”, 2010), Blood and Crips: Made in America (Independent Lenses/PBS, 2008), The O.J. Verdict (Frontline/PBS, 2005) O.J.: A Study in Black and White (HBO, 2002), among others.  He also provided voiceover narration on the Beats Audio Super Bowl commercial “Richard Sherman: The Pundits,” which aired on Fox immediately prior to kickoff, February 5, 2014. Dr. Boyd is the author/editor of seven books and over one hundred articles, essays, reviews, and other forms of written commentary.

What’s Your NativeAdVantage:

What do you do best?

Think and talk. Conceptualize and articulate.

Though the fear of public speaking is common throughout society, I’ve never had this fear. Be it lecturing, doing a media interview, leading a meeting, telling a story, or just having a conversation, I am at my best when running my mouth.  When I was in elementary school I always got in trouble for talking too much; so I guess this explains it right? For someone who talks so much though I need to make sure that I have something to say that is worth listening to, so this is where the thinking comes in. Acquiring, evaluating, and articulating knowledge is what I do. But so that it’s not just empty rhetoric, I have to constantly remind myself, don’t just talk about it, be about it.

What makes you the best?

Preparation and Presentation.

I am at my best when I am fully prepared. Someone once asked Bruce Lee to explain his style. His response was “my style is no style.” He explained this by saying that in a street fight style is irrelevant because there are no rules to a street fight; anything goes. So in order to be prepared for a street fight one needs to be flexible in order to properly respond to whatever you might encounter. The only way to be flexible is to be fully prepared to deal with whatever comes your way. In other words, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.

I often think about life as a performance art space. It's important to understand then that ideas need to be presented properly within this space. This involves both the ideas in their own rite, as well as the person presenting these ideas. I want to be one with the ideas that I articulate. Like Rakim, the poet laureate of hip hop, once said, "I start to think and then I sink into the paper like I was ink."  So for me in terms of presentation, it’s all about making a sartorial statement. This is the package that I offer the public. It also serves to underline my ideas. My clothes are my uniform, my armor. I used to read GQ magazine in high school, while most of my peers were reading comic books. When you see me, I’m going to give you some fashion to go along with the intellect. This way even if you do not like what I am talking about, you can at least say that I was clean when you saw me.

How will you become the best?

Dedication. Staying true to the game. Continuing to hone my skills. Avoiding the haters.

For me the pursuit of excellence is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. The pursuit is ongoing, but learning to fully experience the journey holds its own rewards.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: My personal aspirations involve drinking copious amounts of espresso, champagne, and Chateau Latour in hopes of becoming a truly conscious, evolved, authentic, and enlightened individual in the process.

Business: My business aspirations involve being able to continually generate the income necessary to afford the espresso, champagne, and Chateau Latour.

What fascinates you?

As someone born in the 1960s I am continually fascinated by all of the ways, both subtle and profound, that technology has changed how we live our lives.  For the first half of my life a phone, a camera, and a typewriter were three separate objects that performed three separate tasks. Now one device can do all three things, along with performing countless other tasks.  People of a certain generation may take these changes for granted, but to have been born into a world where none of this existed and then to reach a point where such things are commonplace is particularly fascinating when you think about it.



“Hipness is not a state of mind.  It is a fact of life.”


Malcolm X, Jack Johnson, Miles Davis, Richard Pryor, Billie Holiday, Norman Mailer.




Tag Heuer Monaco watch a.k.a. "The Steve McQueen"

Goliath Ultra eyeglass frames a.k.a. "The Lew Wasserman's"

Gucci loafers

"Stingy" brim fedora

Acqua di Parma Colonia

All Apple everything!


A long time ago I figured out how to make a living off of my passions.  Whenever I watch a movie, listen to music, engage with a sporting event, visit a museum or art gallery, I am “working.”  This represents my attempts at living a seamless life.  When you can get paid to do things that you would do for free, I call this winning.