"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Chuck Brown


This portrait of Chuck Brown the Godfather of Go-Go by Demont Peekaso Pinder hangs in the Howard Theater in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. The painting is in a display case along with Chuck Brown's boots and hat.


Chuck Brown's biography at windmeupchuck.com starts off this way:
“The Godfather of Go Go,” Chuck Brown is the undisputed sole founder and creator of Go-Go music, a hypnotically danceable genre deeply rooted in funk and soul that he developed in the early 70’s , and the only form of expressive culture to originate in the District of Columbia. Foreshadowing rap and many of the major popular R&B styles of the past three decades, Chuck's signature style earned him a place in American musical royalty. This esteem was maintained by the reputation of his legendary live shows, heavy on audience participation and built around “the beat” to create an unparalleled non-stop party atmosphere.
This quotation appeared in the Washington Post, May 16, 2012.
“Chuck was like the Washington Monument,” says radio and television personality Donnie Simpson. “He was like Ben’s Chili Bowl. He was the big chair. He was all of that. Chuck Brown was Washington D.C. . . . People feel you when it’s genuine and Chuck was always that.” – The Washington Post 

Steven Cummings photo of Chuck Brown playing in the Big Chair in Anacostia celebrating it's rededication in 2006 appeared on a nearby historical marker


The God-Father of Go Go was around 70 years old in 2006.


This quote which appeared in Chuck Brown's obituary delineates his attitude toward retirement.
“I’m not retired because I’m not tired. I’m still getting hired, and I’m still inspired,” he said in 2006. “As long as I can walk up on that stage, I want to make people happy. I want to make people dance.”
On August 22, 2009, a section of 7th street, at T Street,  was named Chuck Brown Way.


You can watch, and hear, the dedication on YouTube.





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