Loose Lips

Mayoral Candidates Pitch Themselves at “Emergency” Meeting on Gentrification

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Mayoral candidates' hunger for votes knows no boundaries, and so Tommy WellsAndy Shallal, and longshot candidate Christian Carter headed to Anacostia's Union Temple Baptist Saturday afternoon for an "emergency townhall" on gentrification MCed by prolific anti-Semite Malik Zulu Shabazz.

Shabazz, a former head of the New Black Panther Party and one-time Ward 8 Council candidate, made his name during a 1994 speech at Howard University by leading an audience in a call-and-response blaming Jews for everything from the death of rebel slave Nat Turner to controlling the Federal Reserve system. He seems to have mellowed since, opting not to mention Jewish people all night.

Instead, Shabazz named entities he thinks are behind "The Plan" to whiten D.C.—the National Capital Planning Commission and the Financial Control Board (which was suspended 12 years ago)—and asked the audience to contribute some names of their own. Among them: Vince Gray, mayoral hopeful Vincent Orange, Ward 1 councilmember Jim Graham, and Wells.

Audience members took the mic to discuss the downside of Washington's economic boom, from the dearth of job-training programs to concerns that residents are abandoning valuable property to move into Prince George's County. Then there were the remarks of Nation of Islam representative Khadir Muhammad, who lamented the supposed ills of interracial relationships, and Union Temple pastor Willie Wilson, who said he suspects Nelson Mandela was only conciliatory toward white South Africans because he was under the influence of mind-altering drugs.

Wells, who had been working the aisles of the church, left soon after the event began. That was probably for the best, since Wells likely wouldn't find too many votes in an audience where nonviolence activist Al-Malik Farrakhan would chastise the audience for allowing so many "Europeans" to take seats on the D.C. Council.

Wells didn't get much better from Shabazz, who warned that the Wells-backed H Street streetcar was "the train marking your destruction."

Shallal got a more positive welcome, sort of, with Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten urging black residents not to complain that Shallal's Langston Hughes-inspired restaurant chain appropriated their history when they hadn't done it themselves.

After thanking the man he called "Brother Shabazz"  for letting him speak, Shallal launched into what at first sounded like his usual stump speech. This time, though, Shallal did some things different, reciting Hughes' "A Dream Deferred" and promising to reignite Hughes' Harlem Renaissance in the District.

"We can bring it back, can bring back that renaissance, that history that's rooted in the very essence of what makes D.C. D.C." Shallal said.

Photo by Will Sommer

  • tony


    Well, asuka, you are boring me now. Plus, I GOTTA get ready and go out and party. You know,we BLACKS GOTTA GET OUR PARTY ON!


    I done turned Havana to Atlanta
    Guayabera shirts and bandanas
    Every time you think they got me I switch the planna
    Bulletproof this, radio scanners
    Ballin’ ’til they ban us
    You gettin’ too much bread, they tryna’ jam you
    Boy from the hood but got White House clearance
    Sorry y’all, I don’t agree with y’all appearance
    Politicians never did shit for me
    Except lie to me, distort history
    Wanna give me jail time and a fine
    Fine, let me commit a real crime
    I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef
    Out of spite, I just might flood these streets
    Hear the freedom in my speech
    Got an onion from Universal, read it and weep
    Would’ve brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free
    Except I made millions off it, you fuckin’ dweeb
    I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seat
    Y’all buy that bullshit, you’d better keep your receipt
    Obama said chill, you gonna get me impeached
    But you don’t need this shit anyway
    Chill with me on the beach

    Y’all gon’ learn today

  • Asuka


    "Well, asuka, you are boring me now." = Universal internet statement meaning, "you've beaten me."

    But I understand - it's probably ladies night at your favorite Dupont bar, and you're not one to pass up free drinks, even if it means you've got to play bottom for the night. But thanks for helping me prove my point to anyone reading these comments.

  • SEis4ME

    *chuckles* heehee

  • FunnyReports

    @SEis4Me in response to your arguement from yesterday:

    "@Funnyreports, EOTR has seen the similar levels of poverty and other conditions you mention under every single mayor..including Anthony Williams. Should we not have voted for him? It has fared relatively the same under a Democratic and Republican President. Should we not vote for either of those since our conditions are somewhat the same?

    I think it's perfectly reasonable to complain about our conditions, realize that no CM (alone) will ever be able to change that..and STILL vote in the same interests.

    I've seem night/day changes in W8..under Barry's "leadership." To whom do you think the credit belongs? Williams, who left in 2006? Fenty? The Lockness Monster? Function of times?"

    Since Mayor Williams, the plan was always for DC to become a world-class city. "Word-class" meaning that it will represent more facets of life other than the black community. Mayor Williams brought the cash-flow into the city to make it happen, Fenty's administration corrupted everybody so that no one could go against the progression and Gray is the seeing through the attractiveness of the city to new residents and execution of longstanding projects that were in idle for years.

    As it pertains to your comments with Marion Barry, I believe it is up to the Ward councilmember to do his/her due diligence in preparing their community for the change and advocating on behalf of the residents the seriousness of bringing that upgrade/change to their side of town. Barry is his own worst enemy as in that EOTR doesnt always get the attention it needs because Barry is always entrenched in wild behavior lol.

    Barry overtime has had the same approach for the area, which is fine however, you have to upgrade your approach to the current issues that plague the city.

    Point blank, change will not happen as rapid as other areas until Ward 8 is a community where all people can enjoy it and feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen anytime soon because EOTR will fight to keep EOTRs population the same moving forward.

    Lastly, to who should receive credit for the changes? To be honest there is a difference between the face of the city during the change and the people who put the plans together and closed the deal. The media will never provide the accurate details of who really championed those initiatives because their influence would be contradictory to the true story that should be conveyed.

    Point blank: during the time that Wal-Mart wanted to move to the city and didnt want to pay the workers, Orange was the only one being dragged through the mud by the media, EOTR and Wal-Mart for standing up for the wages of the residents....Fast Foward to LLs article about the minimum wage approval.... You see none of that information about the progression of this matter, which is interesting because a CM was ridiculed by the whole community about the issue and now that the wage has been voted on, now everyone is happy lol.

  • southeast lady

    Gentrification is 80% complete. Too little too late.