Top Ten Marion Barry Moments

marion barry moments

(Photo by Nancy Ostertag /PhotoAssist Inc.)

No matter what you think of Washington D.C.’s ‘Mayor for Life’ Marion Barry, you have to admit he has made things interesting over the years. I can’t think of any other politician who has been in the news for so many odd things, sometimes good, often bad, and often for such silly reasons that only Barry could have been involved. With the news breaking this evening that Barry has passed, we thought we would revisit this article that we originally published in 2009…

For those of you who don’t know him, he was the second elected mayor of Washington D.C. from 1979 to 1991. After a sting operation caught him smoking crack in a hotel room, Barry served six months in a federal prison, but was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and was reelected mayor in 1994. Most recently, Barry again served on the city council. Other things about Barry: He earned a Masters of Science in organic chemistry from Fisk University, and is featured on HBO’s “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry.”

Let’s take a look at ten of his most interesting moments.

10) Immortalized in Wax – 2007

images1 75x75Barry was chosen as one of fifty wax statues for the opening of Washington D.C.’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. D.C. residents and tourists picked him over Cal Ripken, Al Gore, Denzel Washington, Carl Bernstein (who would have made a terrible wax figure), Halle Berry, Martin Sheen, Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Reagan and Oprah Winfrey.

9) Married Four Times – 1962-1994

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Blantie Evans (married 1962, divorced 1964)
Mary M. Treadwell (married 1972, divorced 1977)
Effi Slaughter (married 1978, divorced 1993)
Cora Masters (married 1994, separated 2002)

The ladies must love his dancing:

8) Same Sex Marriage Flip-Flop – 2009

During his 2008 reelection campaign, Barry told the city’s largest LGBT political group, “I don’t think you should make [supporting the bill] a litmus test. But if a bill like that were to come up, I would vote for it.” In 2009, Barry voted against a bill committing D.C. to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Councilman Phil Mendelson said he was surprised because Barry had signed on as a co-introducer of the bill. Barry says the local African American community is overwhelmingly opposed to gay marriage, “All hell is going to break loose. We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this.”

7) Driving Too Slowly – 2006

The police pulled over Barry for driving too slowly. After looking up Barry’s record, the police told Barry that his license had been suspended and ticketed him. Turns out, it was a computer glitch and Barry’s license hadn’t been suspended.

6) Allegedly Stalked a Woman – 2009

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Barry was arrested after his ex-girlfriend, political consultant Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, claimed he was stalking her. Barry was charged with “misdemeanor stalking.” However, all charges were dropped.

The bitch set him up:

5) Arrested for DUI – 2006

Barry was stopped by police after stopping at a green light and running a red light. Smelling alcohol, the officers had to bring him in for a breathalyzer test. The officers gave Barry a ticket for running a red light and for failing to submit to a urine analysis. He was also charged with driving an unregistered vehicle and misuse of temporary tags. A judge found him not guilty for driving under the influence.

4) Didn’t Pay His Taxes – 2005 and 2007

Barry pleaded guilty to charges of failing to pay federal and local taxes stemming from an IRS investigation. The mandatory drug testing for the hearing showed Barry as being positive for cocaine and marijuana. He was sentenced to three years probation and underwent drug counseling.

3) Shot – 1977

While serving on the D.C. city council, Barry was shot by radical Hanafi Muslim terrorists – a breakaway sect of the Nation of Islam – when they overran the District Building.


2) Busted for Smoking Crack – 1990

images 75x75Barry was arrested with a former girlfriend, Hazel “Rasheeda” Moore, in a sting operation at the Vista Hotel by the FBI and D.C. Police for crack cocaine use and possession.

Interview with DC residents on Howard Stern:

1) Re-elected as Mayor – 1994

Kids, smoking crack isn’t a big deal, because you can still grow up to be mayor.

Chris Rock will play us out (probably NSFW):