Marion Barry on Dan Snyder, the evils of sugar — and his new autobiography

At a dinner with reporters Friday, Marion Barry had a lot of opinions to share — which is perhaps not surprising for a man celebrating the publication of his autobiography “Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr.

What was impressive was the breadth of topics that the former mayor held forth on, from healthy eating — “The worst chemical in the world is sugar, sugar, sugar” — and pot legalization— “We have too many black boys and girls locked up for one or two bags of marijuana” — to the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ trademark — owner Dan Snyder “ought to wake up and see it’s 2014 and change that name.”

The tone of the dinner, organized by Look restaurant owner Michael Kosmides and Hollywood on the Potomac’s Janet Donovan, shifted between serious and absurd.

After explaining how his health scare this spring prompted him to avoid red meat, Barry proceeded to order pasta with bolognese sauce for dinner. During the main course he reflected on the parallels between his own life story and those of young people in Ward 8, which he represents on the D.C. Council, and by dessert he had burst into a rendition of B.B. King’s “Stormy Monday.”

Although the event at the K Street restaurant, a gathering for about 20, was billed as a celebration of the publication of Barry’s “tell enough” autobiography, he had much less to say about the book’s contents — particularly anything to do with his 1990 arrest for cocaine possession. Instead, he addressed questions about his drug use mostly in platitudes, making multiple references to “going through the storm,” and directed reporters to focus more on his accomplishments.

“I represent courage. I represent tenacity. I represent vision,” he said. “That’s Marion Barry in a nutshell.”

If he does say so himself.

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