Chris Richards of The Washington Post is reporting Go-Go music, Washington, DC’s Black regional dance music has finally made it’s way into a Grammy category. Thanks to the viral pop cultural moment of Hip-Hop legend Questlove playing legendary Go-Go group E.U.’s international hit Da’ Butt and legendary actress Glenn Close shaking what her mama gave her at the 2021 Oscars, D.C.-raised rapper and awards and nominations committee member Kokayi asked the committee to add Go-Go music to the Regional Roots Album category.
You would think the popularity of the song in Spike Lee’s iconic film School Daze (1988) and the use of Go-Go beats by Grammy award-winning rappers and R&B legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Kid ‘n Play, Jay-Z and Beyoncé and so many others would have catapulted the DMV’s indigenous music into a category of its own, but that didn’t happen. Instead of going through the arduous process of creating a new Grammy category, Koyaki decided to pitch adding Go-Go to the Regional Roots musical category and the committee agreed.
“Instead of drafting a formal proposal, he suggested that go-go simply be added to the best regional roots album category where it could compete against other musical traditions from communities across the land: zydeco, Hawaiian, Cajun, Native American, polka and the like. That way, instead of underdogging it against the starriest names in R&B — like E.U. did in 1988, like Chuck Brown did in 2010 — go-go music could be recognized on Grammy night on its own terms.”
In 2019, Regina Hall and E.U. opened the 2019 BET Awards with a rendition of “Do You Know What Time It Is,” “Da’ Butt” and “Run Joe.”
In 2020, a documentary, “The Beat Don’t Stop” aired on TV ONE, which is based in Silver Spring, Md. Don’t Mute DC is an organization dedicated to battling Black displacement and cultural erasure in the city of Washington. The #DontMuteDC uprising began April 7, 2019 with a springtime battle over music and public space on an iconic street corner, 7th Street and Florida Ave, NW.
With Kip Lornell’s, The Beat: Go-Go Music from Washington, DC and Natalie Hopkinson’s, The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City celebrated books on Go-Go music, the momentum has been growing to finally recognize the beauty, vibrancy and vitality of a black musical genre and culture indigenous to a city and region teeming with dynamic black folk and culture.
Read more at The Washington Post.
This news brief was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.