Let me introduce you to my friend Omar Tyree via e-mail. He is a bestselling author for literary giant Simon & Shuster.
From: “Omar Tyree” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 9:24:47 PM
Subject: Omar Tyree / Where Are We Now Song
It’s the new year of 2015 and as promised, here is the final “Where Are We Now?” spoken word song Master to begin the sharing, uploading and the SPREADING THE WORD process especially to the college crowd radio and student body as I continue to shop my February tour.
The completed YouTube video will be on the way before this weekend is up…
These books best describe the life story of Omar Tyree
This is his Little Known Black History Fact in his early story book relationship with Kids In Trouble, Inside Sports and Harold Bell. You don’t have to worry about seeing this story published in a Simon & Shuster book.
To make a long story short, when Omar was a student at Howard University (back in the day) and writing a column for the Capital Spotlight a DC community newspaper, I was his mentor and shoulder to cry on as it related to trying to survive as a black man in this Game Called Life (sound familiar?).
He went on to become a millionaire as a author for literary giant Simon & Shuster (according to him). He lost it all chasing the music business and the Hollywood Spotlight (his words). During his high profile period during his literary career (Fly Girls) I tried my best to get him to assist me in writing my book. I chased him down at book stores and book signings, but never could get a commitment from him to help me (what else is new).
He fell on hard times without me knowing, but I still stayed in touch by telephone, e-mail. We met and had lunch while I was in his hometown of Charlotte, NC for the annual CIAA Basketball tournament. Years later he would confess “I am dead broke I made some bad investments chasing stardom via the music business in Hollywood and trying helping my family.”
Hold on to your seat belts for this next one, he asked to borrow $5,000 from me for a book project that would help him to get back on his feet and he would repay me with interest. I could not believe what I was reading in the e-mail.
He got a break when the late Marion Barry asked him to be write his life story, “Mayor for Life.”
Omar called me and said, “I think I just got that break I was looking for, Marion Barry has asked me to help write his book, but I don’t know anything about him!”
Marion was aware that he should keep his distant from NBC TV 4 newsman Tom Sherwood and Washingtonian Magazine’s writer Harry Jaffe. They were “Bad News” they tried their best to abuse and misuse their media access to him for their own financial good. I told Marion to run when he saw them coming!
Omar was the perfect foil for Marion; no one has ever called Marion “A dam fool” to his face but me. And that was after I told him that the FBI was trying to sit him up and he should lay low and stay out of the streets for minute. This encounter took place on the parking lot of Face’s Restaurant, the home where the so-called In-Crowd hung out in NW DC.
The eye-witness to this conversation was his security man DC Police officer William Stays. Marion’s response, ‘Harold, thanks man, but I have everything under control.’ It was then I said, ‘Marion you are a dam fool’ he smiled and walked back into the restaurant. Stays looked at me and threw his hands up in the air and said, ‘You tried!’ Six months later ‘The Bitch Sit Him Up!’ You won’t read that in the book ‘Mayor for Life.’
His last media stop before heading to jail was Inside Sports. My talk show was heard on W-U-S-T Radio. I remember it was on a late Saturday evening. My former college teammate and roommate, Dr. Arnold McKnight (DC Boxing Commissioner) had called me the night before saying that Marion might be coming by the station to apologize for not listening to me.
I was halfway through the show when my producer Salim Edwards pointed to the main entrance behind me signaling that I had guest. It was Marion and Dr. McKnight headed to the studio. Marion had this big grin on his face, he seem to be in good spirits. This was his first guest appearance on Inside Sports since the show first aired in 1970. He never apologized on the air, but as I was walking him out he turned and shook my hand and said, “Keep telling the truth I should have listen to you.”
There were many who thought Marion and I were bitter enemies, but the truth was we played tennis occasionally on the tennis courts near his home in Hillcrest Heights SE. We talked sports all the time, especially, the Redskins. He liked to gamble and I remember we made a bet when he was in the Riddick Bowe boxing camp. I took Evander Holyfield to beat Bowe in their second meeting. We were at the Hillcrest tennis courts and he was talking loud about how Bowe was going to knock Holyfield out for my amusement. I went over to him and asked “How much you want to bet”? His response was ‘make it light on yourself.’ I said, ‘A thousand’ and he said ‘hell no!’ He then said, ‘A hundred’ and I said ‘you are betting with scare money?’ We finally settled on five hundred. Holyfield beat Bowe in a big upset. Marion didn’t know I had inside information that Bowe was out of shape and could not keep his ding-a-ling in his pants. Eddie Futch his legendary trainer was threatening to quit if Bowe didn’t get his act together. I took advantage of that information, because I knew Holyfield would be coming into the ring in tip-top shape and I was right.
It took me three months to catch up with Marion to get my money. I walked into Face’s for lunch one day and there he was holding court. He saw me coming and reached into his suit coat pocket and torn off five one-hundred dollar money orders and his only words were, “How did you know?” I said, ‘They don’t call me Inside Sports for nothing!”
Marion, using Omar was a smart move. Omar, had the hook-up with Simon & Shuster and the name credibility and he was broke.
His latest e-mail means he has finally been paid. Omar’s agreement with Simon & Shuster was to be paid on “The Come” meaning a certain amount of books had to be sold before he saw a dollar bill.
This Negro, I want to use the N word so bad it hurts, but once ESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on National television and told everyone that it was okay to use the N word among family and friends, I promised my wife that I would try to abstain from using it. This was after Wilbon and I had sit in the Wizard’s media press room and he told me that his bosses at ESPN wanted him to go on “Outside the Lines” to discuss the use of the N word.
He said, ‘Harold Bell, I am refusing to participate, because the white host Steve Levy has no horse in the race.’ I was so proud of Michael, I almost cried, but I stayed cool. My cool didn’t last long, on the following Sunday on ‘Outside the Lines’ whom do I see sitting front and center defending the use of the now dreaded N word, its Michael Wilbon. I firmly believe there are times like this I should get a pass, so I broke my promise and used the N word in front of my wife. I said “I cannot believe that N just said that!” Hattie looked at me and my response was, ‘he just said it was okay to use the word in front of family and friends.’ She just shook her head. By the way, Wilbon can do no wrong when it comes to my wife.
Now here comes Omar Tyree with an offer he thinks I cannot refuse because I am broke! He has the nerve to ask me, “Man, see if you can make a contact for me in Floyd Mayweather’s camp. I would love to cut a deal to write his life story. Simon & Shuster would jump all over that deal and I will cut you in. And put in a good word with Ben’s Chili Bowl about me writing their story.” I wanted say N please again, but I was cool and I would guess that is why I am still broke.
I learned a long time ago money does not make you a free man in America, ask Radio One Fly Jock Tom Joyner, if money makes you free? Freedom ain’t FREE.
Omar met his responsibility by helping with the editing and allowing his name to be used, I cannot blame him for that. I do blame him for not reaching back to help someone he once called a “mentor”, but he is par for the course in our Black World (the list is too long for me to mention).
His latest rap song as he tries to return to his world of Milk & Honey is appropriate “Where Are We Now Song!” His follow up song should be, ‘Where I once was and forgot!’