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October 25, 2002

BARBERS ARE NOW DEMANDING AN APOLOGY FROM JESSE JACKSON for his comments about the movie "Barbershop." Heh. It's a bad year for Jesse:

Members of the National Association of Cosmetologists led by Chief Executive James Stern Thursday said Jackson erred when, in September, he demanded the film's makers apologize for for jokes about U.S. civil rights icons Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks made in the movie.

Stern told Reuters his group had screened the film, a comedy starring Ice Cube as the young owner of a community barbershop, and the 100 or so African-American cosmetologists at the screening found nothing offensive about the movie.

"Reverend Jackson did not consider the future of black filmmakers," said Stern, adding that now, every time a black filmmaker produces a movie or writes a screenplay, they are going to have to consider whether they will offend some group, which in turn will stifle their creativity.

"We, as blacks, have to let the movie studios know that when he (Jackson) is wrong, we're willing to speak out for ourselves," Stern said.

Stern added that members of his group have seen their businesses hurt by Jackson's comment, and he said if the leader of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition did not apologize himself, his group would sue Jackson for defamation of character.

A Jackson spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

I'll bet she wasn't. I think it's time for Jesse to retire. There's no need for a "spokesman" once people are willing to speak for themselves.