The sounds of Go-go hit the nation on another level when we all heard those conga drums in the background of “Da Butt” by E.U. (Experience Unlimited) as part of Spike Lee’s School Daze soundtrack. However, I didn’t truly get the purity of Washington, D.C.-native pride until I accumulated a few friends from there, went to local parties and saw the crowd erupt to the sounds of “Overnight Scenario” by Rare Essence (which knocks!).
So, the D.C. folks I know and strangers alike will be beating their feet in anticipation at this news: The Root has exclusively learned that TV One is celebrating Black Music Month by debuting a Go-go music documentary titled The Beat Don’t Stop. Chronicling the history and legacy of D.C.’s beloved sound, the doc will celebrate the legacy of Godfather of Go-go music Chuck Brown, highlight Radio One’s pivotal role in the music gaining a platform and more.
In an era where the black community in D.C. has organized movements such as Don’t Mute D.C. and #Moechella to preserve its sacred culture, such a documentary is vastly important.
“I always sought to represent the underrepresented. I always gave voice to the voiceless, and Go-go was very much that,” Cathy Hughes, Chairwoman and Founder, Urban One said in a statement to The Root. “We are proud to be a part of the Go-go story and grateful to tell the story of the men and women who helped to create and promote this amazing sound.” Hughes also serves as executive producer on the doc.
Per the press release:
The Beat Don’t Stop pays homage to the unique contribution of Go-go music to the musical landscape. It features a host of celebrities, artists, music historians, and community leaders including rapper Doug E. Fresh; band members from Junk Yard Band, Trouble Funk, E.U., Backyard Band, TOB, TCB and Maiesha and the Hip Huggers; the dance crew Beat Ya Feet Finest; music historians Dr. Natalie Hopkinson and Kato Hammond; music journalists Ericka Blount and Alona Wartofsky; Don’t Mute DC organizer Ron Moten; talent promoter and former MCA Records executive Bo Sampson; music producer Tone P; Radio One Personality Angie Ange; DJ Flexx; hip hop artist DJ Kool; and many others.
Big Brother Konan who hosted the first daily radio show in the country dedicated to Go-go music, on Radio One station, WOL-AM, also lends his account to this comprehensive look at the social power and influence of this unique art form.
Go-go music is the indigenous sound of Washington, D.C., which emerged out of underprivileged neighborhoods during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. It was largely blamed for the rise in crime and violence that paralyzed D.C. The Beat Don’t Stop takes viewers through that history and addresses how the music served as a platform for African Americans to elevate and address issues such as class struggles, gentrification and the music’s impact on black culture.
Your body is ready, right? Well, if you want a sneak peek into what kind of content you’re in for, we got you. The Root also obtained two exclusive clips of the documentary.
First up, a look into the very sound that added the flavor to “The Chocolate City”:
Next, we get into the roots and origins of Go-go, which is of course, thanks to the Motherland:
For my D.C. loves, save the date and make sure you plan to grab some extra mumbo sauce for your “curryout” chicken to eat along while you watch. In the meantime, check out the trailer below:
The Beat Don’t Stop airs Sunday, June 21 at 8 p.m. ET on TV One, followed by an encore presentation at 10 p.m.