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Pimp’s Bash Has community Fuming

Chicago- Archbishop Don Magic Juan holding a players ball in Maywood? Get out of here! But sure enough, the glittering guru’s birthday is being celebrated at Mariella’s Banquet Hall in Maywood tonight. Even more amazing, besides getting a “Happy Birthday To Ya,” the “celebrity pimp” will also preside over his infamous “Players Ball Convention.”

If the documentary “Pimps Up Ho’s Down” is to be believed, the players ball draws pimps (or wannabes) from across the country to compete for the title of “Player of the Year.” Apparently, the honor is bestowed on the man with the flashiest suits, teeth, rings, jewelry and prostitutes who brought home the most cash to pay for his flashy suits, teeth, rings and jewelry.

“It’s part of America,” Juan told a reporter last year in Columbus, Ohio, where the ball was held.

Juan was an authentic West Side pimp. Now “The Bishop” is a preacher. But his calling hasn’t stopped him from dressing up in his flamboyant outfits and profiting from the pimp persona.

After a meet-and-greet downtown, the pimps will gather at Mariella, which by the way is located directly across the street from the Maywood Police Department, and party.

Whether the pimps will be the kind who exploit the women who walk up and down the alleys in your neighborhood until dawn trying to peddle their flesh for a bag of rocks or the kind who dress up like peacocks and perpetuate the pimp image doesn’t matter.

Real or pretend, these partygoers will be glorifying the sexual exploitation of women and girls.

I live a couple of blocks from Mariella. I don’t know about the inside. From the outside, the facility is as nondescript as a storefront, which leads me to wonder why a bunch of so-called ballers would want to throw a bash on 5th Avenue in Maywood.

According to The Bishop’s Web site, VIP tickets to the event cost $300. At those prices, you’d think the pimps would strut their stuff at the Hilton or Fairmont or Palmer House hotels.

The fact that The Bishop is coming to Maywood could mean only one of two things: Either Maywood is coming up in the world as an entertainment destination, or the unseemly fascination with pimps and ho’s has finally run its course, and The Bishop, who is usually seen hanging out with Snoop Dogg and Ice-T, is on his way down.

I’m banking on the latter.

In any case, Juan’s not getting the red carpet treatment in Maywood.

“I’m mad as hell,” said state Rep. Karen Yarbrough, whose legislative district includes Maywood. Yarbrough and her husband, Henderson, who is village mayor, live a couple of blocks from the banquet hall.

“I work very hard to try and uplift this community. I’m working in Springfield to pass laws against this kind of scourge. We do not need the insult. I understand business and why people make business decisions, but why bring this kind of thing here. I’m insulted as a woman.”

I tried to reach Juan, but he did not return my calls.

However, two years ago, Juan caused a similar uproar when the former mayor, Ralph Conner, included him as a celebrity guest at Maywood Fest, the largest family-oriented event in the village.

Juan may be amusing to some, but he’s an embarrassment to many.

“What does this say to our children?” Yarbrough asks. “We are already in School District 209, where we just saw the scores that show how badly students are doing. Does this event give them an alternative? We’re not having it. Not here. They’ve got to go someplace else.”

The facility was booked a year ago by one of The Bishop’s sons, said Mike, who identified himself as one of the owners of Mariella but declined to give his last name.

“I don’t know why everyone is making a big deal out of this,” he said. “He is going to have a lot of celebrities here. That is all. The churches don’t want this event to go on, but they can’t come and tell us how to run our business.”

Mike said he doesn’t expect prostitutes and pimps to show up at the party.

“I just spoke to [Juan] on the phone, and he is not bringing none of that in here. They are not going to be getting naked or anything like that. This is a family business, and we wouldn’t have anything going on like that.”

Obviously, Mike doesn’t get it. The party has been promoted as a “players convention.” People aren’t coming to a party for Juan to two-step and line dance.

So Yarbrough will join civic leaders, members of the clergy and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless outside Mariella at 5 p.m. to protest the pimp party. The coalition works with survivors of prostitution.

“These women have been exploited by pimps,” said Samir Goswami, associate director of policy for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “Some of these women were exploited as children. They will be out there because they want to send a different message and highlight that this is what pimps did to them. And the fact is, they are still scared of some of these guys.”

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