The ‘Godfather of Go-Go’ was the ultimate cultural icon for more than three decades.
“Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.” — Author Unknown
Over the past month, tens of thousands of Washingtonians have paid their respects after the passing of one of our city’s most dominant cultural icons, Chuck Brown. As a musical connoisseur Mr. Brown revolutionized the local culture with his invention of a distinct fusion of modern jazz, soul and R&B. This style of “Go-Go” music has dominated the local culture for over 20 years, making Brown a popular performer year after year, always delivering on his reputation for creating unprecedented live performance experiences.
Very few artists perform in their 70s at the height of their popularity, yet Brown was the embodiment of cool up until his passing on May 16. A picture with him has been a virtual rite of passage for many Washington natives and visitors, cementing that they have experienced the true essence of Washington, D.C. culture.
As a personal friend for many years, I think of him in a different light and in a very special way this week. This has been the first Father’s Day that he has not been with his tight family and very large extended family. The “Godfather” moniker was bestowed upon Chuck Brown because he took a keen interest in dozens of individuals all around the Washington area whom he felt could benefit from his experience, guidance and wisdom. As a father, he was an extraordinary provider and role model for his two daughters Cherita and Kay Kay. The music legend would schedule his performances around the busy lives of his children, including his two sons Nekos and Wiley, who both played college football. Their father never missed a game.
When Chuck Brown and I spoke about the type of legacy that he wished to leave behind, he eloquently spoke of the importance of his immediate and extended family. Beaming with pride he understood that the love he shared was his most important contribution to his beloved city. Beyond his celebrity status was a wise, gentle, happy soul. The spirit of his kindness and patronage will resonate throughout the city for those of us who were blessed enough to have him in our lives.