DC Go-go and Funk
September 25, 2020
Go-go, the percussion-driven genre that fuses funk, R&B and hip-hop, originated in Washington D.C. in the ’70s, with Chuck Brown, the "Godfather" of Go-go, and other pioneers propelling it to new heights. Go-go is The District’s music and a point of pride, representing the city's unique form of music and the Black population that built it. Today, there are many signs of how this pride and other cultural pillars of Black Washington are at stake. The most visible, gentrification, has jeopardized and worked to erase long-standing traditions and way of life in the city. New movements and activism, like #DontMuteDC, seek to push back against the silencing and displacement of Washington's culture.
NYU DC in welcomed Professor Natalie Hopkinson, an award-winning essayist and critical-cultural scholar who discussed the importance of preserving and strengthening cultural identity and the musical centering of Go-go in The District. She is an Assistant Professor in the doctoral program in Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies and one of the creators of the #DontMuteDC movement.
Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D., is an award-winning essayist and critical-cultural scholar. She is an assistant professor in the doctoral program in Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, and a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation. Her work asks questions about cultural identity, cities and Diaspora, postcolonial history, gender, and media. She has been a columnist at the Huffington Post and a staff writer, editor and media/culture critic at The Washington Post and The Root. She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland-College Park and her B.A. in political science from Howard University. Her most recent book, A Mouth is Always Muzzled (The New Press) was winner of the 2018 Independent Publisher’s Association “Spirit Award” and was longlisted for 2019 PEN America’s Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her 2012 book Go-Go Live (Duke University Press) was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in nonfiction.