Love & Music at Chuck Brown's Going-Away Party

Photo by Natalia Janetti
The Mayor & Others Celebrate Chuck Brown
The Mayor & Others Celebrate Chuck Brown

The celebration of the life and music of DC Go-Go Godfather Chuck Brown stirred to the heights of the Washington Convention Center Thursday afternoon as family members and thousands of fans sang and swayed in memoriam.

Part of Chuck Brown's family (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Part of Chuck Brown's family

“DC knows how to send somebody home, don’t they,” said Mayor Vincent Gray as the crowd waved their arms to Brown’s music.

Gray then announced that the city will name a park after Brown.   At that park, he said, the atmosphere will be lively, it’ll be a place where there is action, music and people abound. And, Gray said, the mantra of the park will embody two famous sayings linked through the ages to the singer:

Cherita Whiting, one of Brown's daughters (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Cherita Whiting, one of Brown's daughters

"Wind me up, Chuck,” and “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that Go-Go swing.”

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton announced that she introduced a House resolution that would designate Brown’s birthday, August 22, as National Chuck Brown Day in the United States.

Another tribute was a new Chuck Brown Foundation, put together by the Brown family and dedicated to helping young people and those in need.

“Got a park, got a day, the only fitting thing that we all can do is build a Go-Go Hall of Fame,” chimed in City Council Chair Kwame Brown when it came to his turn onstage.  And, he added: “Anybody who just moved to DC and don’t like Go-Go, well, get over it!

Ledisi performs (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Ledisi performs

From the moment that former mayor and City Councilman Marion Barry walked into the hall for the tribute, it was evident the crowd was his.  “Barry, Barry, Barry!,” they cheered.  The same rousing reception greeted him as he walked to the podium.  In his talk, Barry pointed out that tombstone inscriptions bear a birthdate, a dash, and then the date of final departure.  In a poignant moment, Barry recalled that he and Brown knew the importance of that dash:  that dash represents--what a person has done with his time on earth.

Chuck Brown, in memory (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Chuck Brown, in memory

Toward the conclusion of the nearly four-hour celebration, pall bearers lifted Brown’s closed casket from the front of the hall and to a combination of jazz, R&B, hip-hop and funk music carried it outside to a waiting hearse. 

The music carried on.

“Chuck left, but the party is still going,” said the officiant, Donnie Simpson.  All agreed that’s the way Brown would have wanted it.


0 Comments For This Article

alfred r speller

I have enjoyed go go music for over 20 years.My job brought me to Washington daily,but we jammed to chuck brown and trouble funk in high school in chesapeake ,va and later at NSU.I will miss your visits to Richmond GOD-Father bless Rod