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!”