2017 One Show Cultural Driver Award
Named by GQ magazine as the First Gentleman of Hip Hop, Derek 'Fonzworth Bentley' Watkins has a reputation as a man of class and excellence as an artist, a fashion icon, and a pop culture figure. Graduate of Morehouse College with a degree in biology, Derek has a true passion for education and investing in the next generation of game-changing entrepreneurs and innovators. He provides leadership coaching, strategic guidance, and leverages his vast network to assist them with capital and partnership opportunities for growth. Derek currently serves on the Advisory Board for several early-stage startups and social enterprises led by award-winning entrepreneurs of color who's work has landed at The White House, International Embassies, in Forbes 30 under 30, Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur Magazine, U.S. Black Engineers, and Wall Street Journal. Inspired by his time working in the genetics lab after college, Derek's portfolio of tech-focused companies are creating innovative solutions in STEM + Arts Education, Workforce Development, Fashion, Hair + Skincare, and Sustainable Energy.
Bentley has made guest appearances on a host of network TV shows, and was a featured actor in films; 'Think Like a Man Too', 'Honey', and 'Fat Al- bert'. He has appeared on Wendy Williams, Chelsea Handler, The Today Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Bentley also served as a surrogate for President Barack Obama during the 2008 and 2012 presiden- tial campaigns. He is currently credited with arrangement and writing of several songs on the critically acclaimed Kanye West's 'Yeezus' Album as well as Producer and Composer on Kanye's current album 'The Life Of Pablo'. Derek co-wrote and co-produced the Grammy nominated song 'Ul- tralight Beam'. He is the author of New York Times self help best-selling book 'Advance your Swagger: How to use Manners, Confidence, and Style to Get Ahead', and is the current host of 'Lift Every Voice' on BET where he relishes in the opportunity to inspire his viewers with an uplifting conversa- tion with some of today’s hottest mainstream and gospel icons.
Derek is a regular lecturer on the college motivational speaking circuit and has worked with The Joseph E. Lowery Institute, The White House Father- hood Initiative, 'Know How 2 Go', the UNCF 'Empower Me' tour, and serves as an Ambassador to the Department of Energy. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife (Faune) and two children (Zoie and Daniel).