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Go-Go is poised to become D.C.’s official music

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The Chuck Brown Memorial at D.C.’s Chuck Brown Memorial Park Getty Images

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Go-go music has long been a cultural touchstone of the District, but in recent weeks, it has been at the heart of a grassroots movement called “Don’t Mute D.C.,” launched after a Shaw store was told to shut off recorded go-go it had played outside its doors for years. (The music came back on following quickly organized community protests.) Now, a new bill authored by Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and co-introduced by the entire D.C. Council would designate go-go as the city’s official music. It would also support go-go’s preservation.

McDuffie proposed the bill at the Council’s legislative meeting Tuesday. “To me and so many other native Washingtonians, go-go music has become so much more than just a musical genre,” he said. “It is the very fabric of the city’s cultural and artistic expression. In every beat of the conga or groove of the drum, the story of the District of Columbia is being told.” The measure would require the mayor to “design and implement a program to support, preserve, and archive go-go music and its related documents and recordings,” McDuffie’s office notes.

D.C. native Chuck Brown—known as the “godfather of go-go”—is memorialized around the city, including at a Northeast park named in his honor; there’s also an annual Chuck Brown Day. McDuffie’s bill comes at a time when the District, once called “Chocolate City,” reckons with gentrification and displacement.

Read full article here @ The Curb

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Entertainment

Black Is King Does Everything It Needs To

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Photo: Parkwood Entertainment
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Beyoncé’s nearly 20-year journey in film is as much a testimony to her tenacity as her formidable catalogue in music. Her work in the two fields grows a little more challenging at each turn. While she blossomed as a songwriter during her stint as leader of Destiny’s Child and came out of it as the premier contemporary R&B artist of the 2000s, she took quirky film roles starring alongside comedy icons Steve Martin and Mike Myers in The Pink Panther and Austin Powers: Goldmember. In the mid-aughts, Cadillac RecordsThe Fighting Temptations, and Dreamgirls posited Bey as a multi-hyphenate actor-slash-performer in the style of Whitney Houston, but, lacking a blockbuster like 1992’s Oscar- and Grammy-winning The Bodyguard (critically reviled though that movie might have been in its time), Beyoncé’s early films seemed like obligatory star-making gestures, less like parallels to the movies of multimedia double threats like Madonna and Dolly Parton and more like peers to the works of Jennifer Lopez and Justin Timberlake, musicians whose early film endeavors were hit or miss, relaying an eagerness to branch out of music sometimes lacking in good taste. For every memorable turn in Selena or The Social Network, there was Gigli or The Love Guru or Jersey Girl or Yogi Bear. Beyoncé’s role in the 2009 stalker drama Obsessed, in which she kills Ali Larter’s character in a fight sequence frankly funnier than any of her official comedic performances, did not help matters.

In the past decade, experiments Beyoncé did with the music-video format — alongside Kanye West, whose My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album was heralded by the fantastical short film Runaway — have shifted the standard for pop-star video excursions, looking to monocultural audio- visual events like the Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for tips in spinning storytelling and performance into a unified narrative thread. Her surprise 2013 self-titled visual album laid important groundwork that she would build upon in 2016’s HBO film Lemonade, which recounts the story of an apparent near miss with divorce but works on secondary levels as a celebration of Black womanhood and a dive into the knotty history and iconography of the South. (Props to Life Is But a Dream, a chronicle of her album and tour and her difficult first pregnancy, and Homecoming, which details the making and execution of Bey’s 2018 headlining Coachella performance, but those are documentaries and more of a testament to Beyoncé the archivist rather than the ambitious storyteller we’re lauding today.) This year’s Black Is King, a full-length film that uses last year’s The Lion King: The Gift as its soundtrack and source text, is the culmination of everything Beyoncé has learned in film since breaking out in Carmen: A Hip Hopera.

Read more at Vulture

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‘Black Is King’: Beyoncé’s visual album is a feast of fashion and symbolism

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There are many quotable lines and lyrics in “Black Is King,” Beyoncé’s new visual album, which dropped today on Disney+. But two in particular seem especially apt to describe the stylistic feast the artist has created. The first comes three minutes in: “Let Black be synonymous with joy.”
The second arrives half an hour later, on the song “Mood 4 Eva,” featuring Jay-Z, Childish Gambino and Malian singer Oumou Sangaré. Clad in a full-length leopard gown with a higher-than-high slit, Beyoncé laughs at the camera as she sings, “I’m a whole mood.”
The almost 90-minute-long film is evidence of both affirmations.
Conceived as a celebration of “the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry,” as Beyoncé wrote on an Instagram post announcing its release, “Black Is King” is a companion to 2019’s “The Lion King: The Gift,” the album she made to accompany Disney’s CGI remake of the 1994 animated movie. (Beyoncé voiced adult Nala in the film.) It follows a young man’s journey to self-discovery, with a focus on Black history and African traditions, told through the artist’s own narration.
Read full article and watch video @ CNN.com

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