It looks like Eddie Murphy is set to play former Washington D.C. Mayor and Alpha Phi Alpha brother, Marion Barry, in an upcoming television biopic that HBO Films is developing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Spike Lee is attached to direct with John Ridley (Red Tails, Da Brick) to pen the script. Murphy, Lee and Ridley would all serve as executive producers.”
Bro. Barry was born on March 6, 1936 in Itta Bena, Missisippi where his father worked as a sharecropper. When Barry was four, his father passed away and his mother moved the family to Memphis where she remarried and raised her nine children.
On December, 10th 1955, Barry was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Beta Xi Chapter in Memphis. He received his 1958 bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College in 1958 and his master’s in chemistry from Fisk University in 1960.
After finishing his masters, Barry became very involved in the Civil Rights Movement and he served as the first national chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1964, as Alpha Phi Alpha’s journal The Sphinx describes it, “Barry’s job in SNCC was to go around the country to all of the state legislatures to try to convince them to vote to make the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party the recognized Democratic party of Mississippi.”
Barry then moved to D.C. to launch a local chapter where he coordinated a peaceful street demonstration to protest bus fare increases and eventually quit SNCC in 1967 when he co-founded Pride, Inc., a jobs program for black men who were unemployed. In 1978, he ran for mayor of D.C. and won. In 1990 he was convicted of drug charges and served six months in prison but then went on to win the city’s 1995 election for mayor which he held until 1999.
Barry later served on the city council representing the city’s 8th Ward and died in on November 23, 2014 at the age of 78.
Are you excited to see his biopic? Do you think Eddie Murphy will play him well? Let us know in the comment section below!