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On Sunday, November 23, 2014, the Honorable Marion S. Barry, Jr., passed away. At the time of his death, Mayor Barry (affectionately known as Mayor for life) was the Councilperson for Ward 8 in the Southeast area of Washington, DC. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ward 8, this area houses the city’s poorest and most under-privileged citizens. Historically, Ward 8 received little to no attention and/or representation. At least, that was the status quo until Mayor Barry filled the seat. With his arrival, he gave hope to the hopeless.

You see, for those old enough to remember, Marion Barry was widely known for his commitment to helping the poor and those in need in Washington DC. Before this time, there was never an actual “race” whenever Ward 8’s council seat was available. The person who ran did so unopposed. This was mainly due to a complete lack of concern for Ward 8 citizenry on the part of the local government. The lone individual who bothered to put their name on the ballot was the guaranteed winner of Ward 8 hands down, no competition. So, to see Mayor Barry, who served four terms as DC’s Mayor in a constant, epic battle for the rights of the citizens residing in DC, was a breath of fresh air. He gave a voice to the most disenfranchised citizens in Washington DC and in particular a Ward that no one else cared about. For that, he was both loved and respected.

Don’t get me wrong, the Mayor’s life was not without controversy. But, who among us can cast a stone? Nevertheless, during his life, the media seemed to take particular pleasure in showcasing Mayor Barry’s shortcomings. Upon his death, the media, especially local media, sought to focus on his spectacular political life as opposed to his personal life and failings. Instead of jumping on that bandwagon, TMZ, a nationally syndicated magazine show on Fox 5, chose to focus on Barry’s personal life in the most disrespectful manner possible. Why?

There were many others who have died whose lives were at least as “controversial” as Mayor Barry’s, yet TMZ chose a more sympathetic approach in their report of the deaths. For example, while discussing Cory Monteith, Heath Ledger and Robin Williams, the magazine seemed to almost gloss over the fact that each of them died either due to their own addictions or by their own hands. There were no titles such as “Druggie Heath Ledger is dead” or “Mork orked himself.”

TMZ could have chosen to tell the world the complete story of Mayor Barry. They could have used their national voice to tell the true story of Mayor Marion Barry and not have reduced his legacy to a sound byte. They could have chosen to show at least the appearance of impartiality and fairness. Instead, they chose to add insult to injury for those who loved him. His death did not prompt TMZ to show respect.  As a result, I have no respect for TMZ, Harvey Levin and the machine that gives him a voice. I urge others to boycott this unfair program! Can anybody hear me?


Since the Chris Brown/Rihanna fiasco, domestic violence has become the latest hotbed issue. However, before we even had a chance to fully adjust to Chris Brown being the “poster boy” for an issue that we all know is as old as time, enter Ray Rice. Now, the NFL has stepped in to demonstrate—in no uncertain terms—that it has a zero tolerance for domestic violence. So, even though the NFL is beleaguered with illegal drug use; alcohol usage and alcohol-related automobile accidents (some of which have resulted in fatalities); not to mention blatant acts of racism, domestic violence is the only social malady that they are apparently willing to address with fervor. Apparently, it is the only malaise that results in an indefinite loss of lifestyle…at least if you are a member of the NFL. Other sports such as Hockey, Baseball, Tennis, Soccer, etc., must not be troubled with such. Right??

For what it’s worth, I believe the media, the NFL and society in general have got it wrong. And in their error, they are sending the wrong message both to women and to men as well. As it stands, women (starting from little girls) are being convinced that they are the only possible victims of domestic violence. They are being told that they are not culpable, even if they strike the man/boy first. This is not only ludicrous, but dangerous. This creates a situation where women get all the benefits of equality such as equal pay, equal position, etc., with none of the accountability that men are faced with.

Let’s compare the situation involving Solange and Jay-Z with Ray Rice and Janay Palmer. According to TMZ, Jay-Z was assaulted by Solange in an elevator. The same source cited Janay as being assaulted in an elevator by Ray Rice. In Jay-Z’s case, we have no footage of him hitting Solange or even defending himself from her assault. However, in Ray Rice’s case, we see an altercation taking place. We witness a mutual exchange of words and blows between a man and a woman and not the plight of a battered woman fearful for her safety. We saw an angry woman approaching Ray Rice prepared for battle. What happened after that is debatable. Nevertheless, both situations were caught on tape. Yet, there was no outcry from TMZ (or anyone else) for Solange to be punished in any way for her actions. Jay-Z was barely even applauded for being a gentleman.

What do you believe would have happened if Jay-Z had defended himself, which, let’s not forget, he had a right to do? He would have been the bad guy! Why? If we are intent on punishing the aggressor, shouldn’t Solange or any woman be the “bad guy” if they decide to physically assert their position? Why are men held to a higher level of self-control then women? If men and women are truly equal, then women, just like men, need to be taught to keep their hands to themselves. Abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator is male or female. Women should not be given a free pass to hit men just because they are angry. Apparently, this is where women draw a line in the sand regarding the need for equality. Instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, they want the right to hit men and have men’s lives destroyed if they return fire.

It has gotten so out of control that I heard Keyshawn Johnson, an NFL Analyst and former NFL player, state that even if the woman has a weapon, the man should just “take the weapon from her and not hit a woman under any circumstances.” Though some might find this quite chivalrous, I find it presumptuous, foolish and, quite frankly, chauvinistic. You may ask why I would say such a thing. In truth, some females are more equal to men than men would like to acknowledge. I don’t know about you but, I’ve seen some rough-looking female cops, wrestlers, bus drivers and construction workers, just to name a few. I don’t advocate trying to take a weapon from them. You may just wanna run for your life.

Bottom line: Everyone keeps their hands to themselves and no one, male or female, gets hurt. Now, verbal abuse? That’s another blog for another time. Can anybody hear me?