OXON HILL, MD, November 23, 2014 — Sons and daughters of Washington, DC’s Marion Barry era are in mourning today upon hearing the news this morning that the legendary civil rights leader and former mayor of the city has died. Marion Barry had a significant impact on DC area’s Generation X, thanks to his summer jobs program that employed and empowered many young people in a way that no area leader had before or has since, as surmised by their anecdotes. High esteem for Mayor Barry was deeply felt and powerfully sincere among many DC area residents, but also quite obviously a dividing line by race, class, and personal and family history. At times when Barry was covered negatively in the press, many of his supporters identified not only with the given newsworthy circumstance, but the sentiment that major media outlets shed more light on one’s personal flaws than on one’s public prosocial deeds. Unlike other local politicians who have been accused of pandering to the go-go community when it best suited their political needs, Marion Barry managed to be continually regarded as a personal friend to go-go, even after media reports highlighted his support for the so-called ‘go-go crackdown.’
Mayor Barry was one of the featured commentators on “Washington in the ’80s” and a major topic, himself, of the documentary that debuted just last week on PBS affiliate WETA. One of the very best representations of his legacy and what he has meant to his supporters was captured in April 2013 by “Mayor of DC Hip Hop” Head-Roc in a song entitled “Mayor 4 Life (Tribute to Marion Barry).”
A tribute to him has been added to the Chocolate City Rocks: Black Rock Star Super Hero Music Street Jam today from 12noon to 4pm at 14th & Randolph Streets, NW, where a superstar lineup of DC hip hop artists will perform.