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Bill Cosby Controversy Concludes at Ben’s. Murals Gone. Obama and Others Collateral Damage

by Prince Of Petworth January 26, 2017 at 9:20 am 84 Comments

1213 U Street, NW Photo by JP

And just like that the Bill Cosby mural controversy concludes. You can see what the mural looked like when it first went up in Sept. 2012 here.

Caroline reports:

“Just walked by Ben’s and it looks like they’ve completely white washed over the mural on the alley side. I literally think they did in in the dead of the night because the guy was still painting at 7 am.”

Ben’s website says:

“The mural alongside Ben’s was painted in 2012. Now, after 5 years of braving the elements, its time to refresh and repaint the mural and we want your input! Below you will have the opportunity to pick your top 6 nominees from those listed below. You may also pick your favorite group of people, write in a name for consideration, and write in a complete group of your own. Thanks for your support and suggestions for our 2017 Mural.”

Nominees for the new mural include:

Alice Walker
Angela Davis
Anthony Bourdain
Barack Obama
Ben Ali
Bill Cosby
Bob Marley
Cathy Hughes
Charlene Drew Jarvis
Chris Rock
Chuck Brown
Danny Glover
Dave Chappelle
Denzel Washington
Dorothy Height
Duke Ellington
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Ellen Degeneres
Frederick Douglass
Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias
George Clinton
George Lopez
Harriet Tubman
Harry Belafonte
Jesse Jackson Sr.
Jimmy Fallon
Joe Mantegna
John F Kennedy Jr.
John Leguizamo
Kevin Durant
Kevin Hart
Lance Gross
Mahatma Ghandi
Marion Barry Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Marvin Gaye
Maya Angelou
Mayor Muriel Bowser
Michael Jackson
Michelle Obama
Misty Copeland
Nikki Giovanni
Oprah Winfrey
Rachael Ray
Roberta Flack
Russ Parr
Simone Biles
Stevie Wonder
Taraji P. Henson
Terrance Howard
Virginia Ali

Vote for your top 6 here.

Photo by Caroline

  • FridayGirl

    Woooooo. Also your second photo is upside down, PoP.

    • MoldieOldie

      no, you’re upside down!

    • Truxton Thomas

      Strange–it’s upside down on my PC and right-side up on my phone. Death by PoPville!

    • Michael Pierce

      Upside down for me, too.

  • Hm

    6 Jimmy Fallon’s sounds about right.

  • Tom

    OH MY GOD who suggested Gabriel Iglesias

    • skj84

      I KNOW RIGHT? I can justify almost everyone on the list, and then theres this wildcard pic.

      • Tom

        I also learned today Taraji is a D.C. native!

        • skj83

          Aw! The Washington Post did a nice write up on her in the Magazine years ago after her Oscar nom for Benjamin Button. I would also recommend her book Around the Way Girl. She talks a lot about her upbringing in SE/NE DC.

  • s.patriollo

    Controversy continues: B. Cosby is a nominee on the list for the ‘new’ mural. WHY is that even allowed?? He was removed–leave the (alleged) roofie-rapist off of the new mural. He should not even be a contender.

    • kd

      I voted for 3 strong men and 3 strong women:
      Barack Obama (duh)
      Dave Chappelle
      Duke Ellington
      Nikki Giovanni
      Virginia Ali
      Maya Angelou
      I really hope if they do pick 6, they do balance male and female.

      • kd

        oops! That wasn’t meant to be a reply to s.patriollo

  • dcgator

    Finally! I also really appreciate your bolding of Rachael Ray. I don’t get it, either. Interesting that Cosby’s name still remains to be chosen; perhaps to appease those who never thought it should have been removed in the first place.

    • I Dont Get It

      I don’t think Anthony Bourdain is too thrilled about being on the same list as Rachel Ray.

      • dcd

        I thought that exact same thing. Though he made up with Emeril, maybe he’s made up with her too?

    • elly2

      I imagine she has visited the restaurant and they choose their celebrity visitors to be on the list. If you google her name and Ben’s she chooses it as one of the three favorite DC restaurants.

      • dcd

        “she chooses it as one of the three favorite DC restaurants.”
        That’s because the quality of the cooking compares to hers, I guess?

  • DCbyDay

    Rachel Ray. I’m dead.

  • U neighbor

    Muriel McMuralFace!

  • Gumball

    Why is Donnie Simpson no longer an option?? I think DC natives should be first on the list plus the Obamas.

    • kwame

      Accurate on both. Donnie and Russ Parr just filmed a commercial for Magic 102.3 walking past this mural in slow motion.

      • DCbyDay

        hahaha i think in the commercial they even joke about being on the mural? they should launch a campaign.

      • OP Anon

        They have a few different commercials featuring Ben’s and the mural.
        “This ‘Bama here!”

  • MoldieOldie

    My vote: Ellington, Chapelle, Gaye

    • MoldieOldie

      plus: Oscar Romero, Ghandi, and Cesar Chavez

      • dcgator

        I have a dream…that one day, people will spell Gandhi’s name right (oh, and before you say it, I KNOW).

        • MoldieOldie


  • JohnH

    Muriel Bowser? Um what?

    • SEDC


  • skj84

    My pics: Barack and Michelle of course. Prince despite the lack of DC connection. He was just that magical. Tarajii P Henson, my personal hometown hero. Frederick Douglass and Duke Ellington. Angela Davis and Dorothy Height, because people need to know those names.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      There was a line around the block on Sunday of people wanting to hear Angela Davis at Busboys and Poets. Any one besides me remember Free Angela graffiti in Georgetown?

      • skj84

        I didn’t know she spoke at Busboys on Sun! I was lucky enough to hear her speech at the Women’s March on Sat, would’ve loved to see her in person.

    • I had almost exactly the same choices, though I would add writer Pearl Cleage. I love Pearl Cleage.

      • markus

        Unbelievable that Angela Davis could even be suggested. As a bay-native, people really need to study what she did leading up to the courthouse incident. Just unbelievable.

  • ST21

    Marvin Gay, Chuck Brown, and Prince.

    One suggestion: The late great, Sean Taylor #21.

    • stacksp

      I like all 4 options and add Ali

      • MoldieOldie

        +1 for Ali

      • stacksp

        John Thompson is another D.C. Sports legend and a mural with his iconic towel draped over his shoulder would add nostalgia

        • ST21

          ooooo very nice call on JT. Gary Williams and JT would be nice entries. So would Doug Williams.

        • JohnH

          Gary Williams? At Bens Chili Bowl? Mmmm no.

      • ST21

        Great call on Ali. I secretly want a random white dude in there too that will make me giggle. Thinking maybe Louie Anderson.

  • MoldieOldie

    PoP, Convert this to a poll please.

  • V

    Rachael Ray??????

  • Traveler

    My vote: a combination of amazing women. Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis.

    • Truxtoner

      Yes. This.

      I did all women for both sets of votes. Time for some ladies up on the building.

      • LT


  • Truxton Thomas

    I guess Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston were already taken. Just kidding and whatnot—I’ll take Rachael Ray, Anthony Bourdain, and Joe Mantegna. I mean, with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, MLK and Gandhi as alternatives, it’s really a no-brainer.

    • MoldieOldie

      It should be anonymous silhouettes of each of the women Cosby raped. Of course that’d go down the alley and up onto the second story. AND include his f’king face for shame.

  • Matt

    John Leguizamo but not John Lewis?

    • Michael Pierce

      Anthony Bourdain but not Guy Fieri???

    • eb

      I just voted; John Lewis is on the list and i voted for him. I think he’s the perfect choice for a 2017 refresh given the climate in this city and Congress.

  • Brooklyn Brawler

    “Don’t boo–vote.”

    My six choices (in no particular order)

    MLK, Barack & Michelle Obama, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman & Virginia Ali

  • northeazy

    Remember last year when the British Arctic Research Institute crowd sourced the name of their new boat on the Internet? Yeah. The people of the UK chose Boaty McBoatface. There is a section where you can fill in your own name. I chose him. And, of course, Bill Cosby!

    • Anon

      I mentioned this poll to my wife, and her first response was to scream out: “boatie mcboatface!”

  • dcd

    Make it an All Ali Wall – Ben Ali, Virginia Ali, Muhammad Ali and . . . Tatyana Ali? Laila Ali? Ali Larter? Ali Baba? Never mind . . .

    • stacksp

      I chuckled at Tatyana Ali

    • Traveler

      All Ali Alley Wall

      • Vered

        What about Alvin Ailey?

  • history

    Bobby Mitchell

  • dfsdaf

    Mahatma Ghandi
    Rachael Ray
    Frederick Douglass.
    Jimmy Fallon
    Angela Davis

    I really hope they pick all six, because I really want tourists to walk-by and be like “WTF?”

  • dcd

    I vote for a Civil Rights Icons Wall: Harriet Tubman, John Lewis, Thurgood Marshall, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, MLK, and Marion Barry

    • Anon

      I would cheer that. Appropriate given history of area. Although I’m really pulling for an all female grouping, since the last was all male, and we are right on the heels of the women’s march

  • Yow

    It should be a Mt Rushmore of DC natives….

  • ctb

    Barack Obama
    Stevie Wonder
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Duke Ellington
    Maya Angelou
    Muhammad Ali

  • John Galuardi

    Marvin Gaye
    Michael Jackson

  • Hal seitz

    Joe Strummer of the band the Clash done by famed mural painter Chad Brady.

  • Hal seitz

    Bad Brains

  • LisaJ

    I wrote in Steven Colbert. He’s my man.

  • tonyr

    Name the odd one out: Chuck Brown, Bill Cosby, Mahatma Gandhi, MLK and Marion Barry
    Answer Bill Cosby is the only one who hasn’t done jail time.

    • General Grant Circle

      Well Mahatma Gandhi is the only one that isnt black

    • s.patrillo

      Hopefully that will change for Mr. Cosby.

  • Frances

    I added Ida B. Wells as a suggestion – more people need to know about her!

  • Fan of Learning

    Wrote in Neil deGrasse Tyson

  • Steve

    Chuck Brown
    Dave Chapelle
    Chris Rock
    Duke Ellington

    Or they could stick with the sexual predator theme and put Donald Trump up

  • Beverly Merian Doom

    Bill Cosby, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Brown, George Clinton, Prince, Marion Barry Jr., Marvin Gaye, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas,

  • JC

    Michelle Obama, Ghandi, Joe Montegna, Tony Montana, OJ Simpson

  • Carlita

    1. Barack Obama; 2. Michelle Obama; 3. Marion Barry Jr.; 4. Maya Angelou; 5. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and 6.Chuck Brown

  • DC Fireman

    Your DC Firemen are writing in Lt. Kevin McRae who died at a fire on 7th Street NW. Please consider writing him in along with us. Thank you.


  • BetaGamma

    Duke Ellington

  • Anon

    Michelle Obama and all black women, please!
    Although I will also accept (in order of preference):
    2. President Obama (beside Michelle)
    3. Black male civil rights leaders of the 20th Century
    4. Ellen
    5. Ben Carson as Black Jesus, like the painting he has in his house

  • Sully

    Langston Hughes
    Virginia Ali
    Nikki Giovanni
    Marvin Gaye
    Aniekan Udofia

  • pstreet202

    Chappelle, Marvin Gaye, Len Bias, Chuck Brown

  • DSB

    The Obama’s
    Sean Taylor
    Petey Green
    Dave Chappele
    Angela Davis
    The Fun Bunch in group high 5 action shot


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