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Watley Barred From Discussing Gay Games on Radio Show
by Andrew Davis
2006-08-02

This article shared 3359 times since Wed Aug 2, 2006
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An urban Chicago radio station that invited longtime R&B singer Jody Watley for a live interview would not allow the singer to talk about her then-upcoming performance at the Gay Games. However, a radio executive contends that there was a good reason that Watley could not discuss the Games.

According to an entry on KeithBoykin.com, which is run by famed Black gay activist Keith Boykin, Watley arrived at Chicago's V103 radio station to do an interview with Herb Kent before she was scheduled to perform at the July 15 Gay Games Opening Ceremony in Soldier Field. However, before she went on the air, she was told by the interviewer that she could not discuss anything about the Games. She could only talk about her appearance at a local Virgin Megastore, the site stated.

Boykin then detailed a conversation he held with Watley, a Chicago native, backstage at Soldier Field and in a subsequent interview. 'I was surprised but I wasn't really surprised,' she told Boykin. She also declared that she 'has always acknowledged my gay fan base.'

In an e-mail to Windy City Times, Boykin commented that he was also 'surprised but not shocked by the news.' He added that, ' [ a ] lthough there are quite a few progressive, open-minded Black radio stations out there, it only takes one or two closed-minded individuals to shut off the dialogue for everyone. ... I hope this incident will encourage V103 to wake up to the reality that many of its listeners are black and gay and many others who are not gay simply don't like it when their radio station tries to censor artists who are doing good things for our community."

However, the station has a different take concerning what transpired. Angela Ingram, vice-president of communications for Clear Channel Radio Chicago ( which owns V103, among other stations ) , told Windy City Times that time played a role regarding what the singer could talk about. 'The focus [ concerning ] the show with Herb Kent was to discuss her music,' said Ingram, who admitted that she was not around at the time of the interview. 'There wasn't enough time to discuss other things, including the Gay Games.'

'That's baloney,' Boykin responded in a separate missive to Windy City Times. 'If time was truly limited, why would they talk about a small record store appearance instead of the big show she was doing at Soldier Field?'

The executive added that charges of homophobia are unfounded if for no other reason than the extent to which the Gay Games were discussed that week, Ingram said. 'We did talk about [ the event ] extensively that week, and we mentioned that to Jody. She was not aware of that,' she stated. In addition, Ingram countered, ClearChannel's June launch of PrideRadio should demonstrate just how inclusive the company is.

However, Watley herself disputes Ingram's claims. In an e-mail that Windy City Times received through an intermediary, the singer says that she 'was told specifically to not mention the Gay Games. It was simple as that [ and it was ] not because of time limitations. Being a veteran artist, I know stations are on schedules because they have to get in the advertising , etc., and I can usually manage to get everything in.' She added that 'the DJ even said 'he didn't understand why' but that's what he was told. I didn't agree, but respected their request at that moment and appreciated that I was still being afforded the opportunity to promote my [ new CD ] and [ Virgin appearance ] , though the station doesn't have my music in rotation. ... I stand by my story.'


This article shared 3359 times since Wed Aug 2, 2006
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