Skip to content

TMZ cover of Marion Barry racist and biased

TMZ Marion Barry cover

The death of Marion Barry this past weekend have many reflecting on his legacy and positive actions during the civil rights movement, as well as his tenure as mayor of Washington, D.C. However, one incident that was caught on video has tainted the life and death of this great leader. In 1990, Barry was seen on video smoking crack cocaine in an FBI undercover sting operation. He was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to six months in prison, as well as drug rehabilitation. Barry completed his sentence and rehabilitation with flying colors. He went on to reenter politics and was elected to a fourth term as mayor of D.C., which cemented his unofficial title of “Mayor for life.”

But the tabloid news outlet, TMZ decided to run the headline “MARION BARRY CRACK MAYOR DEAD AT 78.” In addition, the outlet posted the video of Barry smoking crack. There was no mention of his positive role in the black community or his work as mayor. The decision by TMZ to use this description of Barry smacks of bias and racism. Marion Barry was not using crack when he died, his death was related to a long string of health issues including diabetes. But when a white public figure junkie dies of a drug overdose, TMZ coverage did not include their drug use in the headline. In 2008 when actor Heath Ledger died, there were prescription pills by his body and evidence that he had an addiction problem. When Philip Seymour Hoffman died early this year of a heroin overdose, with a needle in his arm and packets of the drug near his body; the headlines stated that his death was due to an overdose. Many outlets then wrote tributes is to his talent as an actor and focused on his body of work.

This biased coverage has not been lost in the world of social media. There has been a online petition started demanding TMZ take down the offensive headline about Barry. In the 48 hours since Barry’s death, the petition has garnered 15,000 signatures. There is no word from TMZ if they will remove the headline.


  1. Jason on November 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I hope MOST conscious Black folk don’t spend time on TMZ (web or tv). They constantly degrade Blacks on the low. Regardless or what any Black man or woman does – I will not stand up with another race and laugh at them. It is time to stop standing against ourselves. I can feel that Blacks are close to an awakening in this regard. I just wonder how many more of our kids will get killed before we are 100% awake?

    Wake up sleeping giants!

  2. soisaid on November 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    tmz degrades everyone just for airtime and recognition.

  3. Shady Jim Jones on November 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Ole’ Cracker azz cracker muthafawkers!!!

    • butterbeanbabe on November 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      YEAH REALLY AND THE FACT THAT THEY DEGRADE ANY BLACK LAUGH AT RAPPERS , AND LOWER AS MANY BLACKS AS THEY CAN IS WHAT GIVES THEM AIR TIME … HARVEY LEVIN BEEN ON TV LONG ENOUGHT TO KNOW BETTER ,. all them trailer trashey low educated , sillly white kids on there also need training on ethnicity , have any of them spent any time with blacks ? dont seem like it .. white men on all level have no clue what its like to be black they are so insensitve to our issue in ameirca

  4. butterbeanbabe on November 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    NEWS FLASH .. TIMZ IS racist as a whole ,and need to be taken off the air, i predict they are gonna dog out the wrong person one day and be shut down over night …HARVEY LEVIN IS A RACIST , WHAT JEW YOU KNOW GIVE A DAM bout blacks and i notice all the ignorant racist comments harvey and his bunch of bandits have said over the years , they were suied for racism last year and probably settled
    i dont watch them anymore cause when ever you got a media person sitting there talking bout how big a black man penis is , or saying shit bout kim k just cause she with a black man , but never critisizes her when she with a white man… they dont talk bad bout scott dissick? or bruce jenner .? they can haha he he bout bill cosby makeing enuendo a bout his sexual issues . . comparing him to oj simpson even ….
    they try to stick few blacks in the back ground or have racheal making a fool out of her ugly fat self , she is one ugly chick who pretends to be defending blacks in stead becomieng a laughing stock , she appitizie who they laugh at daily a fat black loud chick with no intelligent conversationg , ,who defends rappers and not bill cosby .. PATHETIC ,,ALWAYS SAYING SOME DIRT BOUT BEYONCE, AND OBAMA EVEN ..