Tony Lewis Jr. on Washingtonian Mag Ad: 'Natives Have Been Excluded From Progression'

May 16, 2018
Tony Lewis Jr
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By: Eyasu Delesa

D.C. native and community leader Tony Lewis Jr. joined the Joe Clair Morning Show to discuss Washingtonian Mag's "I'm Not a Tourist" campaign, which rubbed a lot of D.C. natives the wrong way because of the lack of diversity in the social media rollout.

The magazine posted eight "influencers" of the city, none of which were African American. Lewis Jr. says the oversight was "symptomatic of something bigger and greater." 

"Black people in D.C., particularly natives, have been excluded from all the progression and innovation," Lewis Jr. said. "Our existence, what we want, our needs...are not factored in in these plans." 

As of the 2017 census, black or African American people make up 47.7 percent of D.C.'s population -- which is why Lewis Jr. feels the "I'm Not a Tourist" campaign ironically came from the perspective of newcomers rather than actual D.C. natives.

"I felt like they're speaking to the people that were born here. That [newcomers are like>  'we're here now, this is our city, and you have to deal with it'" Lewis Jr told Joe Clair. "I don't think we have a problem with that. We just have a problem with us and our perspective not being taken into consideration."

Lewis Jr. did acknowledge that the collective power of the natives  is the reason Washingtonian Magazine decided to remove the ad. 

Listen to the full interview below:

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