The Washington Post

Marion Barry’s celebratory tweet embraces racial epithet

The Web was abuzz Wednesday about Mayor for Life Marion Barry and his celebratory tweeting during his landslide election Tuesday night.

D.C. Council member Marion Barry turns his campaign shirt inside out before walking in to vote for himself at MLK Elementary in Ward 8 during primary elections. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

But in all of its twaggin’, Barry’s Twitter account embraced an ugly racial epithet. Someone with the Twitter handle beekay sent this message: “Marion Barry’s trending... That’s the illest [n-word].”

Marion Barry’s trending... That’s the illest nigga.

— beekay (@BeeBlanco_) April 4, 2012

Among some black people, it’s a high compliment meant to show respect. The message was retweeted from Barry’s account. Barry said last night’s retweet was sent by a staff member who was at the Twitter helm for most of the night. “Sometimes she gets carried away,” he said. “But I love social media. It’s useful and informative. And I defied the odds last night, didn’t I? I defied all the odds.”

Some weren’t so ready to dismiss the incident.

“He’s ill for real,” Greta Fuller an advisory neighborhood commissioner said with a chuckle after hearing about the retweet. “You never know what you’ll get from Marion.”

Sandra Seegars, another ANC commissioner who lost to Barry on Tuesday, was just as incredulous as Fuller. “Uh no, no no,” she said, almost speechless when she heard about the retweet. “Whoever did it, did it in poor taste.”

The retweet, of course, comes after Barry called his own neighborhood “the ghetto” last year after a Post reporter asked him about his car that had its bumper loose. Many in his neighborhood were not pleased about the reference. Barry said he had been a victim of a hit-and-run.

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