Seattle Star Publisher Outed as African American

Don't be fooled by the hat. Joe Iano's photograph proves it.
Don’t be fooled by the hat. Joe Iano’s photograph proves it.

In possibly the most shocking news of the day, an investigative report reveals that the publisher of The Seattle Star is actually an African American male.

Omar Willey emerged from his dark, secluded hideout yesterday just long enough for photographer Joe Iano to capture him on camera and after years of speculation it can finally be confirmed that Mr. Willey is in fact a brown person.

Investigative reporter for The Seattle Medium K’meah D’feyoeran L’shaunra T’messwit had long had her suspicions, dating back to an article she first read in The Tablet magazine almost fifteen years ago. In that article Mr. Willey had made a passing reference to being arrested by University of Washington campus security while not on their campus.

“That should have been a dead giveaway,” said Ms. T’messwit. “Everyone knows that only black people get accosted by campus security. That Mr. Willey was pulled off the bus and spent a night in jail for nothing is pretty convincing evidence. Dunno why no one picked up on that.”

Part of the problem is that the article in question has long since disappeared, along with the newspaper that published it. Skeptics believed that this was a front, some smoke and mirrors to conceal the writer’s true identity, and they pointed to his other works of the time: writings on jazz for Earshot and 5/4, pieces on Kurtis Mantronik and new jack swing, interviews with filmmakers Charles Burnett and Cauleen Smith, and various poems published in small journals up and down Cascadia. It is well-known that blacks do not listen to jazz and certainly don’t have any interest in experimental cinema. For awhile, the skeptical view prevailed.

“I was one of those skeptics myself,” admitted DJ Riz Rollins, who worked with Mr. Willey for three years at KCMU radio. “I mean, damn, if you’d’a heard his late night show. That fool would string together Sun Ra, Van Der Graaf Generator, World Saxophone Quartet, Najma, and The Walkabouts in the same set. Even I ain’t that brave.”

Asked if he’d met Mr. Willey at a staff meeting, Rollins replied, “I was too busy with the chow. Only reason to go to those things.”

After years having passed of Mr. Willey’s identity being a cold case, a chance meeting between K’meah D’feyoeran L’shaunra T’messwit and someone named “Yo Joe” led her to reopen the files.

“Yeah, I hadn’t even thought about it in years,” confessed Ms. T’messwit I mean, I’ve never heard another black person even mention his name since the early 00s. I mean, don’t no black person I know read that shit at Seattle Star about theater and science and whatever it is. I figured it was a wash. Then ‘Yo Joe’ came along and hipped me to this secret document.”

Without divulging the contents of the document exactly, Ms. T’messwit said that it cracked the case wide open. “I had to confirm it on Facebook, you know, to see if it was true, and it was. Turns out his family has been in Washington State since the 1800s. He’s even directly related to the first black mayor in Washington State, Willie Craven.”

So far, Mr. Willey has not responded to requests for confirmation. Ms. T’messwit says it’s only a matter of time.

“I did get him to speak for about thirty seconds,” she said. “but he wouldn’t admit anything. He just said ‘Ask Tyrone or Val. They are the ones who define blackness in Seattle.’ I have no idea what he was talking about, but he sure had a damn fine voice.”

The rest of the mystery may take awhile to sort out. Meanwhile, we have this photo, and the assurance of K’meah D’feyoeran L’shaunra T’messwit that this revelation will change everything, but it won’t mean that blacks will have to start reading the Star.

“Hell no,” she said, “No one wants to read that white boy shit.”

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