- Mandela service sign language interpreter: ‘He made up his own signs’
- Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
- Ben Affleck: Fundraising for Democrats started to ‘feel gross’
- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
- India top court rules homosexuality is illegal
- Aaron Hernandez, ex-Patriot, on prison life: ‘I’m way less stressed in jail’
- Man pulled from water believed to be disgraced D.C. cop
- Kabul airport hit by suicide bomber who targeted NATO gate
SIMMONS: Now walk the walk on Ward 5 talk
If you’ve walked and driven any distance in and around the city in recent days, you’ve likely heard the sounds of go-go.
It’s a tribute to the so-called “godfather of go-go,” who died May 16 at age 75. His body was lying in repose in an open casket at the legendary Howard Theatre on Tuesday, where thousands poured in. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday at the Washington Convention Center, to be memorialized for his love of family and humanity, and probably a mention or two of that wonderful smile of his.
Professionally, Mr. Brown didn’t just “invent” go-go.
He was blessed with and never hesitated to extol a spanking new musical ingenuity that perfectly merged old-time-religion call-and-response with jazz, standards and funk.
His percussive beats became his signature, so much so that anyone living in Washington’s inner core heard a new generation mimic the go-go genre that helped legitimize hip-hop.
A North Carolina native, Mr. Brown didn’t have an easy life in his early years. He even wound up in prison, where he took to strumming a makeshift guitar.
But he didn’t let the hard knocks keep him down.
I first met Mr. Brown when he played at my high school prom way back in I’m-not-going-to-tell-you, and I saw him perform umpteen times throughout the years.
Most recently, we greeted each other while he was signing autographs at an event here in Ward 5.
Same Mr. Brown, same trademark black attire and hat, same smile and same humble aura.
That he has gone on to glory hits a soft spot in thousands upon thousands of people — and well it should.
To know that his soul is resting in peace following gripping illness is reassuring.
Harps aren’t the only instruments that God’s angels play.
• Deborah Simmons can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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