The Washington Post

The music-video campaign against Vincent Gray returns

Here we are, three-and-a-half years after the Adrian Fenty vs. Vincent Gray mayoral showdown. So much has changed since then: Fenty has all but left town, and Gray’s political future is hanging by a thread. But Ronald Moten, the pro-Fenty promoter and activist who produced a series of music videos on Fenty’s behalf, is still here.

Moten released an update Tuesday to one of his 2010 campaign classics, inspired by Blackstreet‘s 1996 jam “Don’t Leave Me.” While the musical motif and some of the participants, including singer Weensey, remain the same, there have been some changes.

The chorus then: “Don’t leave us, Fenty.” The chorus now: “So sick of Vince Gray.”

The verses then: “Where’s Mr. Vince Gray when you need him / he’s busy with Emmanuel Bailey’s private meetings …” The verses now: ” Shutting down the go-go, D.C. dirty po-po /And for the record we really believe [Uncle] Earl …”

The video then: Top-notch production values. The video now? Well, watch for yourself.

The YouTube clips kicks off with a (very loose) re-enactment of the August 2010 meeting between Gray and businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson described in recent court documents, complete with a “shadow budget.” What ensues is a hip-hop tour through the lowlights of the Gray administration.

“People are frustrated that Gray is making it seem like everything is okay in D.C.,” Moten said Tuesday. “The truth needs to get out.”

Among the ironies noted in Moten’s preamble: In the closing days of the 2010 primary campaign, Gray called for a federal investigation into vote-buying in the Fenty campaign. Now it’s Gray who is under federal scrutiny.

Not mentioned in the new track: The civil lawsuit filed last year by the District’s attorney general against Moten and his partner in the Peaceoholics nonprofit, Jauhar Abraham, alleging they defrauded the city of nearly $180,000 by filing false grant applications.

Moten continues to deny the allegations, saying the lawsuit is “all about retaliation” by the Gray administration. The case remains under litigation.

Also not mentioned: Mayoral candidate and D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, a Fenty ally who now enjoys Moten’s support. “This is me,” he said. “It ain’t got anything to do with any campaign or nothing.”

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · March 25, 2014

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