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Philly Fire Commissioner Ayers: WTF?

By Wyatt Earp | July 12, 2010

Updated, 7:30pm. Watch this video and tell me if you see something askew:

Okay maybe it’s just me, but there’s unseemly about an active Philadelphia Fire Commissioner doing an endorsement for Black and Noble, an African-American book store, in full uniform.

What is Black and Noble? Check out their story:

In The Beginning there was a Man, a Table, a Mission and a Dream. The vision was developed in 2003 by a man who would not take no for an answer. Hakim Hopkins began selling books as a street vendor on the corner of Broad and Erie Avenue in North Philadelphia. Since then hard work, persistence and drive have fueled his ascent and kept the light burning in Black and Nobel. Black and Nobel Books is considered to be many things to many people; a bookstore, a major distributor, a Publishing House, a shipper, and a grassroots marketing company as well.

Five years ago in a community well known for major drug trafficking, Hakim Hopkins sat a box of books on the ground that can now be looked upon as the cornerstone in building Black and Nobel. People often testify with pride on how they watched Black and Nobel go from a book stand to the store to a movement.

Black and Nobel Books ships to prisons, participates in vending opportunities, and wholesales their entire catalog.

This story has caused a lot of outrage within the fire department. Allegedly, Black and Nobel is an African-American bookstore that attracts a lot of unsavory people, including some “F**k the police” types. If that’s true – and a few firefighter and police officer friends have confirmed this – why would Commissioner Ayers shop there, let alone give it his endorsement?

My other issue is with Commissioner Ayers and his endorsement. It is completely inappropriate, especially when it is given in full uniform. The implication is that the Philadelphia Fire Department endorses the store as well, since Ayers speaks for the PFD.

Imagine if I appeared in a commercial for Drama Flakes cereal. I’m standing in a kitchen wearing my badge and pistol. I turn to the camera and say, “My mornings were mundane until I started eating Drama Flakes!”

How soon would I be reprimanded/disciplined/fired? A day? A week?

Of course, Ayers’ appearance is a non-issue for two reasons. First, he is the fire commissioner, and the fire commissioner can do whatever he damn well pleases. Second, he is an African-American fire commissioner endorsing a controversial African-American bookstore. That’s okay, though; the Philadelphia media will be pouncing on this story any minute now.

Until then, I await your cries of “RACISSSSST!”

Topics: Philly, WTF? | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Philly Fire Commissioner Ayers: WTF?”

  1. John D Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Amazing, yet surprisingly unsurprising.

  2. Randal Graves Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    “Take a look at this video and tell me if you something askew:”

    Yeah, no one is shoplifting in the background!

  3. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    John D – Not in Philly, at least.

    Randal – Ka-kow!

  4. RT Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    He can’t even pronounce “noble” correctly. Dork.

  5. metoo Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I like the “considered to be many things” followed by “a major distributor”….Yeah, I just bet they are. Made me chuckle just a bit.

  6. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve never heard of Black and Nobel. Is that like a Black and Tan?

    “My mornings were mundane until I started eating Drama Flakes!”

    Make sure you shriek “SPOON” and I do believe a star is born!

  7. AJ Lynch Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I guess “Black” refers to the black race but where did they get the “Nobel” part? Is it a misspelling? Am I racist for asking that?

  8. Smite A. Hippie Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Never heard of it either. Is that like a Chinese Black knock-off brand of Barnes and Noble?

    …oh, and – RACIST! :)


  9. Smite A. Hippie Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    always a classic:


  10. Old NFO Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Yeah, that is totally unsat. He’s using his “position” to endorse them. Guess Nutter won’t bother to even talk to him either…

  11. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    RT – Maybe he thinks he’s getting the Nobel Prize?

    MeToo – Maybe they have “inserts” for their prison deliveries?

    Mrs. Crankipants – Finally, a use for my antennae!

    AJ – Your guess is as good as mine.

    Smite – I love that little kid!

    Old NFO – Why should he? Nutter is probably a loyal costume, too.

  12. Dixie Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I guess “Black” refers to the black race but where did they get the “Nobel” part? Is it a misspelling?

    Think “Alfred,” not “dignified.”

  13. Ingineer66 Says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Dammit Dixie you beat me to it. I was thinking maybe they also sell dynamite.

    Here in Cali it is illegal to wear a uniform that identifies the department you are with in a product commercial or political ad. If they do wear uniforms or show an engine they have to cover up all the logos. But this joker is a political appointee right? So he may not have to meet the same standards as the working stiffs. If there even is a rule or law out there.

  14. Andrew Says:
    July 13th, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Sometimes I forget that he’s the fire commissioner. I mean, it’s like waking up from a bad dream only to find out reality is even worse than the nightmare you just had.

  15. MUD Says:
    July 13th, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I have a dream that someday who says what and their race will be unimportant, No wait, he has cheapened his office to that point today. At least he didn’t have a night stick and call me cracker.

  16. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 13th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Dixie – Apparently that’s what Lloyd thought.

    Ingineer66 – He was promoted through the ranks, though. Both a political appointment and a member of the PFD. Either way, it stinks.

    Andrew – He almost makes our police commish look good. Almost.

    MUD – Well, not on camera, anyway.

  17. Bob G. Says:
    July 13th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Wyatt (et al):
    Damn…after watching the vid and then reading all of the comments…I’m ROFLMAO.
    Not to mention, everyone else took all the GOOD lines…!

    WTG, people!
    (only in Philly, eh?)