“Fonzworth Bentley”. The name itself invokes the very essence of coolness and elegance, and these two qualities are precisely what set him above the rest. Named by “GQ magazine” as the First Gentleman of Hip Hop, Fonzworth Bentley, born Derek Watkins, has a sense of style and impeccable manners which have earned him a reputation as a man of class and excellence as an artist, an expert in fashion, and as a pop culture figure. Recently recognized for his music producer/choreography accomplishments by being named Executive Music Producer on the ‘Juneteenth’ episode of the Emmy Award winning TV show “Blackish”, as well as being awarded a 2017 MTV “Moonman” award for Best Choreography for the hit song, “Fade”.
As producer and host of the hit MTV show, “From Gs to Gents”, and author of New York Times self help best-selling book “Advance your Swagger: How to use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead”, Derek has achieved worldwide acclaim. He is the current host of “Lift Every Voice on BET”. Derek relishes in the opportunity to inspire his viewers with an uplifting and in depth conversation with some of today’s hottest mainstream and gospel icons. He has been a guest on several daytime and late night talk shows, as well as a featured actor in films; “Think Like a Man Too”, “Honey”, and “Fat Albert”.
As a songwriter, music producer, and choreographer, Derek has produced and written for some of the top headlining acts in the music industry, including one of the most prolific music icons of recent times, Kanye West. Derek amassed numerous music credits on West’s album, “The Life of Pablo”. His is credited with being an A&R for the album, and a songwriter and co-producer on several tracks on this album. These credits include co-producing Kanye’s 2017 Grammy Nominated hit single, “Ultralight beam”, and co- writing and composing another hit single, “Waves” off the same album. Additional producer/choreography credits include performances with artists “Chance the Rapper” and “2Chainz”.
Driven by a deep faith and motivated to inspire others, Derek spends much of his time supporting numerous charities and is a regular lecturer on the college motivational speaking circuit. The Joseph E. Lowery Institute, The White House Fatherhood Initiative, Know How 2 Go, and the UNCF “ Empower Me” tour are just a few of the organizations Derek has had the pleasure of working with over the years. Those combined experiences motivated him to launch the Fonzworth Bentley Leadership Institute (FBLI) to provide educational and mentoring opportunities for people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Derek currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Faune, daughter (Zoie) and son (Daniel).