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Mayor Bowser Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Bill Signing Designating Go-Go Music as the Official Music of Washington, DC

Friday, February 19, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the first anniversary of the bill signing to make Go-Go Music the official Music of Washington, DC. In 2019, the bill was introduced by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and unanimously passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. The legislation calls for the implementation of a programs to support and archive Go-Go music and its history in the District.

“I’m proud to celebrate this historic moment because we know there here is no DC without Go-Go, and there is no Go-Go without DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “No matter what changes in our city, the District’s native sound will always be Go-Go. I’m excited to continue working with the community and the Council to ensure we preserve and promote Go-Go’s rich culture.”

Go-Go music originated in the District during the mid-1960s to late 1970s and is a fusion of many different musical forms such as funk, blues, soul, and salsa. The unique genre got its name from one of its founders, the late “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown.

“For more than four decades, Go-Go has been the lifeblood of our city,” said Councilmember McDuffie. “It’s been the soundtrack of the entire DMV. It’s also been the way that so many musicians and entrepreneurs have been able to showcase their talent and their skills for the entire world to see. Culture matters, and that’s one of the drivers that led me to introduce the bill to make Go-Go the official music of Washington, DC. We were also able to secure $3 million dollars in the District of Columbia’s budget to support our local Go-Go economy this year. Let’s take this time today to enjoy, reflect, and celebrate this milestone of making Go-Go the official music of Washington, DC.”

Last year, Mayor Bowser joined the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture (MONC) to host a community celebration at Culture House where residents from all eight wards came to celebrate Go-Go music at the beat of DC’s own The Back Yard Band.

“Since February 2020, we’ve had some dark times in this city and nation. However, there have been some shining moments for Go-Go throughout the pandemic. We were introduced to virtual Go-Go parties early on. We saw Go-Go bands perform at the historic Black Lives Matter Plaza as a form of protest. We saw Go-Go encourage us all to vote back in November. Go-Go continues to show us that its cultural, political, and influential reach stretches further than any nightclub venue in the region. So, it was only right that we made Go-Go the official music of the city, our city,” said MONC Director Shawn Townsend. “I look forward to working with the Go-Go community to find innovative ways to preserve live music venues where DC's native sound can continue to thrive.”