Last Thursday’s memorial to Chuck Brown was a celebration befitting of the Godfather of Go-Go — there were impassioned musical tributes and somber remembrances alike. But it was D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown who seemed to make one of the most pointed statements of the service.
During a scheduled speech, Brown played up his own local roots and how much go-go meant to him. “I am go-go,” he said. “To the media, you better get that right.” But it wasn’t just that, reports the Post:
As much as the crowd loved the game of one-upsmanship, there was a persistent undercurrent of tension about the city’s direction. Kwame Brown drew cheers by reviving the slogan Marion Barry tossed at white Washingtonians in 1994, when voters returned him to the mayor’s office after his prison term on crack cocaine charges: “For all of the people who just moved to Washington, D.C., and have a problem with go-go music,” the chairman said, “get over it.”
It was probably the strangest moment of the memorial for me; I caught myself asking, “Is anyone really opposed to go-go?” Not really, but that wasn’t so much Brown’s point. He was speaking to the fact that go-go has been slowly pushed out of the city as much as he was trying to shore up his own image amid rampant rumors regarding the outcome of a federal probe of his finances and 2008 campaign.
In 2010, Natalie Hopkinson, author of the forthcoming “Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City,” wrote in the Post of the declining presence of go-go in the very city that birthed the genre:
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]