Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins, is a second generation Morehouse Man, which accounts to why GQ magazine named him the “First Gentleman of Hip Hop”!
Fonzworth Bentley, has a sense of style and manners which have earned him a reputation in the entertainment industry as a man of class and excellence as a producer, artist, expert and trend-setter in fashion, and as a pop culture icon. Derek recently received rave reviews from The Washington Post and NPR as the executive musical producer of We Built This and Juneteenth, two powerful history lesson musicals inspired by the Broadway musical, Hamilton, featured on the first episode of the TV show, Black-ish.
As a songwriter, music producer, and choreographer, Derek has produced and written for some of the top headliners in the music industry. He was the A&R director, songwriter and co-producer for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo album; and was co-producer of Kanye’s 2017 Grammy nominated hit single, Ultralight Beam. Derek was awarded the MTV Moonman award for best choreography on Kanye’s hit single, Fade. Additional producer/choreography credits include performances on national TV with artists Chance the Rapper and 2Chainz.
Derek was the 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, which has given him the opportunity to speak to over 150 college and university campuses nationally and internationally. He was the host of the BET hit show Lift Every Voice on BET for four years.
He 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 Albert.
Driven by a deep faith and motivated to inspire others, Derek carves out time to support 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 Spelman alumna wife, Faune; daughter, Zoie; and son, Daniel.