Bethesda MD – In March of 2019, it had been reported that the number of car dealerships in the United States had declined for the first time since 2013. While we’re still awaiting the hard numbers for the fourth quarter to determine just how many dealerships met their demise in 2019, it’s clear that the restructuring strategies being employed by certain automakers are having an appreciable impact at the dealership level. That said, the industry isn’t resting comfortably anymore. In fact, by the midpoint of 2019, industry sales were down about 2.4% for the year-to-date (which aligns with early projections), just as the second half of the year is expected to reflect the projected expectations of a 3.4% drop. But is this why the GMC dealer near me closed down? Nope. The GMC dealer near me closed down because the owner has a YouTube channel where it’s been reported that he “wears blackface and pretends that he’s Tupac.”
43-year old Brad Templeman had helmed Templeman GMC in Bethesda, MD, since 2004, when he acquired the dealership from his father, making the dealership a third-generation family-owned operation. Praised as a cornerstone of the community, Templeman GMC is known for having been active in social programs, supporting events and groups within the greater Bethesda and has been named one of ‘Bethesda’s 10 Best Places to Work’ for seven consecutive years.
“The Templeman family have always been one of Bethesda’s private little treasures,” explained (one of) Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton(’s interns) at a 2017 community event where she had been tasked with introducing Brad Templeman as a local sponsor. But like many members of the community, Newton seems to be distancing herself from the Templeman family now that Brad Templeman’s private YouTube channel has gone public.
On December 9th, it was revealed that Brad Templeman operated a YouTube channel where he would record himself recreating and performing 1990’s hip-hop and gangsta rap classics including (but not limited to) NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Tupac, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Leaders of the New School, Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Gang Starr, Del the Funky Homosapien, Cypress Hill, and Lords of the Underground (among others).
According to Michelle Templeman-Schleiber (Brad’s sister and former-General Manager of the dealership), “[these were the artists] he had always loved growing up.” It’s the contention of Templeman-Schleiber that her brother would never do anything harmful or hurtful to the minority community that he adored. It should, of course, be reported that Templeman’s wife Rochelle is of African-American descent and that their marriage has produced three children of mixed-race heritage. That said, the family stands by their belief that criticisms and protests which have driven their dealership out of business are unfounded, unfair, and based on a complete misunderstanding.
“We are fortunate in our ability to travel extensively, as a family,” explained Brad Templeman in a public response to the claims. “We frequent warm-weather locations on a regular basis, which means that I often sport an off-seasonal tan. On a recent trip to Turks and Caicos, I mistakenly fell asleep poolside for four hours in the mid-day sun. I was in the midst of a spa-quality facial and had sliced island fruits placed over my eyes and mouth to reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, it left circular areas around my eyes and mouth that were significantly lighter than the rest of my face.”
For many returning vacationers, such an event would be little more than a humorous anecdote. But we find ourselves in problematic territory when Brad Templeman’s very public passion for the so-called Golden Age of Hip Hop is combined with an appearance that superficially resembles blackface.
“My YouTube channel has always been operated with thoughtful tact and the utmost respect for the global minority community,” explained Templeman. “It’s with that respect in mind that I always chose to perform censored radio edits of songs, whenever possible – and why I always refrained from repeating lyrics of a racial nature that could be perceived inappropriate, insensitive, or inflammatory. All I can do is apologize, with the utmost sincerity, to anyone I may have offended and to my family for jeopardizing our shared legacy. I truly am sorry. ”
“Maybe he should have taken a break making those videos until he stopped looking like some sort of offensive civil war-era lawn jockey if he was so worried about people calling him racist,” explains Rockville resident, Tanisha Lamm.