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Mayoral campaigns strike political note at tribute to late go-go great Lil' Benny

By Nikita Stewart
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray on Saturday unveiled Lil' Benny Way, an alley named in honor of one of the city's go-go greats, at an event off U Street that blurred the lines between ceremony and campaigning.

Fenty and Gray, his chief rival in the Sept. 14th Democratic primary, were civil and made no campaign speeches. They stayed on topic: Anthony "Lil' Benny" Harley, who died of a heart attack in May at age 46, was a go-go legend and was dedicated to giving back to the community by helping young people learn music.

But 11th street between T and U streets, where an alley now bears Harley's nickname, was teeming with campaign workers for Gray and Fenty.

Fenty has been courting fans of go-go music since Memorial Day weekend when he began advertising on urban radio stations with endorsements from go-go musicians. Though go-go godfather Chuck Brown is supporting Gray, Fenty has a long list that includes Sugar Bear of EU.

Fenty's campaign staff and city staff were present, mixing in together. Concert passes bearing Harley's image were given to people in attendance. Harley's silhouette was drenched in a teal green so that the keepsake looked like campaign paraphernalia. The passes were paid for by Fenty and Democratic council members Jim Graham and Kwame R. Brown, both running for election and both in attendance Saturday.

Ron Moten, co-founder of the Peaceoholics who has become a face of Fenty's campaign, told the crowd that Fenty should be credited with giving Harley "the biggest funeral in D.C."
The impact of Fenty's go-go effort is unknown. The mayor was booed at Harley's funeral, but there were no jeers Saturday.

The crowd appeared focused on Harley despite the campaign stickers.

Jasmine Young, Harley's 15-year-old stepdaughter, delivered a touching speech about how Harley was also her "friend." WPGC radio personality Antonio "the Cuban Cigar Smoker" told the crowd that a scholarship fund in Harley's honor has been started to give assistance to students at Ballou High school, his alma mater.

In an interview, Antonio said Harley came up with the idea years ago to clear the alley of trash so that musicians could have a back entrance to the nearby Masonic Temple where go-go bands play.

After Fenty, Gray, Graham and family members officially unveiled the sign, they took a walk through the alley to the temple.

By Nikita Stewart  |  August 7, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart , Vincent C. Gray  
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Next: Candidates scramble for checks in advance of midnight deadline

Comments

Ron Moten, co-founder of the Peaceoholics who has become a face of Fenty's campaign, told the crowd that Fenty should be credited with giving Harley "the biggest funeral in D.C."
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Lol... are you serious? Bigger than Dr, Heights, or Thurgood Marshalls, or Effie Barrys, or Tony Snows, or any of the 21 former Presidents or, oh I could go on and on but really Moten. Can you just stop speaking publicly? It's just not your thing. You HAVE to be embarrassing Fenty, even if hes too stubborn to admit it.

Don't get me wrong, this is not about Little Benny who I grew up loving! He was the man and much respect due. He deserves to be honored. (with more than an alley I think but anyway...) Fenty didn't exactly GIVE him a funeral as much as he TOOK OVER his funeral planning. There is a difference that neither he nor Moten understands. I keep telling you he's challenged as far as definitions are concerned.

Maybe what Moten meant to say was that was the "biggest" funeral he had ever heard of or attended which is still a shame because it shows just how small time he really is.

The way that you get to know your history is through your elders Fenty/Moten... how can you learn anything from them if you have so much disrespect for them. So much disrespect that you are 40 year old men raised in this city who truly believe Benny's funeral was "the biggest funeral in D.C." Lol

Just Ignorant!


REST IN PEACE LITTLE BENNY!
YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!

Posted by: tformation1 | August 7, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@tformation1

We need to hear from Ron Moten on a regular basis. Remember he is the "GIFT" that keeps on giving. LOL, LOL

Posted by: bnew100 | August 7, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"...An event off U Street that blurred the lines between ceremony and campaigning. *** Fenty's campaign staff and city staff were present, mixing in together. Concert passes bearing Harley's image were given to people in attendance. Harley's silhouette was drenched in a teal green so that the keepsake looked like campaign paraphernalia. The passes were paid for by Fenty and Democratic council members Jim Graham and Kwame R. Brown, both running for election and both in attendance Saturday."

In very poor taste. (And highly questionable under the terms of the Hatch Act.) But I guess we have come to expect that from the Green Mobsters, a/k/a the Fenty Gang.

Posted by: nan_lynn | August 9, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

tformation1,

Huh? Are you serious? This man's friend dies and he says something a little overstated. And, now he has committed some great moral sin against Dr Height? Are you out of your mind?

What does it matter? Was he supposed to take a survey of all DC funerals and do a comparision? Does it count if the funeral crossed state lines?

It very tasteful of you to shoot down the funeral of a recently deceased local musical icon. For that matter, it is foul to diminish any person's funeral. Dude, get a grip on your Fenty hating. Respect the dead.

And, you have no idea how many people loved that man. You have ne idea. He was a musician. You can sing his song in your head. That is bigger than politics. Who do you think had a bigger funeral? Micheal Jackson or....STOP! See if i made the comparision I would be a jerk. Just like you.

Posted by: politicalrealist | August 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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