Loose Lips

Marion Barry: Reporters, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee Are Exploiting Me

While Marion Barry's would-be successors in Ward 8 fight over who will succeed him, Barry is working on his legacy. Barry took to the radio waves this afternoon to denounce the unflattering Barry-era book Dream City and the HBO movie associated with it—and, along the way, promote his own autobiography.

"Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe are trying to exploit me, and I’m tired of being exploited," Barry said of the 20-year-old book's authors on WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show. "The citizens are tired of being exploited by them."

Much of Barry's appearance centered on his unhappiness that Dream City, a book about an African-American mayor and a majority African-American city, was written by two white men.

“Why should I let two white men exploit a black man?" Barry said.

Still, skin color isn't the only mark of whether someone is "exploiting" Barry. Director Spike Lee and actor Eddie Murphy, both of whom have been attached to the HBO project, also made the list of Barry legacy exploiters. Reporter Jonetta Rose Barras' own Barry book, The Last of the Black Emperors, was even worse than Dream City, according to Barry.

Barry added that Dream City was filled with "misinformation," but declined to offer examples.

Readers looking for Barry's seal of approval on books about his administration have one option: his own book, Mayor for Life, due out on June 17. Barry tells LL that he's planning a tour of the New York City talk show circuit next month to promote it.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Pop M

    Look in the index for "The Plan."

  • ShawGuy

    Marion Barry is a senile old racist who can't / won't even do his actual job. I heard the Kojo interview today, and Barry said that the reason he was speaking so softly was because he was IN A HEARING about housing! He was so obsessed with his quest to prove that white people just want to"exploit" him that he was actually on the phone while he was supposed to be paying attention in a hearing for almost twenty minutes to rant about it.

    Barry needs to accept that he chose a life as a public figure, and that means he can no longer control the dialogue about him by the media. That's a choice some people make, and it's one he made.

    And Barry needs to shut his racist mouth about being "exploited" by white people "for economic gain" - the main soundbyte he repeated dozens of times in the interview. Part of being equal means we can all report about all races. That's why we don't have a "Black News Hour" on CNN where only black reporters talk about black people in the news, and a "Caucasian News at 11" where only white people talk about white people in the news. Well, that, and the fact that it would get way too complicated way too quickly to decide which race reported on interracial crime, couples, companies, or anything else. Should a white guy get spliced in every few sentences to talk about the white person in the story? What about gender? Can women report or write books about men?

    And one last point - this guy screams and whines and cries his little racist face off when white reporters write a book about him, saying he's being "exploited". I find the statement that white people cannot, in his opinion, even write a book about a black person, when he had absolutely no problem whatsoever voting, as a heterosexual, to deprive gays and lesbians of their civil right to marry. Using his logic, he shouldn't even be allowed to WRITE about gays and lesbians as a straight guy, but he had zero problem going WAAAAY past that and voting to discriminate against them and make such discrimination the law.

    Marion Barry: Racist for Life!

  • Corky

    He should sue Toronto Mayor Rob ford, too. How dare a fat White Canadian try to take the crown of crack smoking mayor from DC's Mayor for Life!!

  • Wrack

    I write to endorse everything ShawGuy said.

  • E. Masquinongy

    We all love Mr. Barry for what he is, the one who never fails to keep media focus on him.

    Every article comment about Mr. Barry is exploitation. He has rightly denounced the very large body of publications about him, which by the definition of exploitation, helped pay the salaries of those that wrote them.

    And then his denouncement begets even more articles and postings. Note well, there is nothing here that constitutes genuine news.

    Your publicity machine is working very well, Mr. Barry. Hats off to you.

  • anon

    Barry sounded high. I have no doubt that if Marion Barry was drug tested today it would come back positive. He's still a crack head.

  • Ward 5 Resident

    Everybody talking against Marion Barry go take a look in the mirror at themselves and I bet they will see alot of fault in their ownself. Just remember when you talk about someone you have 4 fingers pointing back at you. Let us lift each other up rather than put each other down. Thank you and all have a blessed day.

  • DCPeopleWhoThink

    Barry will not be able to control how his film will be employed. However, he should feel good that he has contributed so many good things for the youth, DC government employees and seniors in DC, along with bringing on controversy with himself that he's film worthy.

    He should know that no one will be perfect, and how others can redo the story, about his life to give it credence and integrity. However, none will be able to overlook the Vista Hotel (where he was advised not to go by his close friends and security), protection of Rapheal Edmunds (lead to Fulwood's resignation -- who served as Chief of Police), bridge quarrel w/ Effie (who was dating a female Anchorwoman), support for Abe Pollin vs. Bob Johnson to build our city's first Verizon center), denial of Cathy Hughes to development H Street NE (look at what we lost today TVONE and Radio ONE), out-of- the country apology as emgerency snow clean-up remained undone, and allowance of the historic Dunbar Senior High school to be torned down for a jail house -- as with Woodrow Wilson requiring more tax dollars to have them both rebuild in 2013.

  • 20011

    Barry predictably embarrassed himself in spectacular fashioned. He made insulting accusations and didn't even have the integrity to provide evidence or explain himself on multiple occasions when invited by Kojo. How disgraceful.

    And as already mentioned, he was in a hearing and instead of getting up and going to a quite place, he's doing an interview in the middle of the hearing. Simply amazing.

    Sherwood and Jaffe didn't mention a word during the entire interview. I admire their integrity to not even engage him for a minute. They have nothing to gain from engaging with an a-hole like Barry, so they take the high road. Professionals, something Barry will never be.

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