Caktuz: “Go Go Is The Heartbeat Of D.C. & Can’t Be Seperated” [Wash. City Paper]

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For the fifth year in a row, the D.C. government-sponsored WeDC House at the Austin festival made sure that people know the city isn’t known as just the political capital.

MAR 27, 2017 11 AM
The city’s official promoters say that people underestimate the artistic scene in D.C., and while they have a vested interest in the success of the city’s charm offensive, members of the city’s arts scene are just as eager for D.C. to get the recognition it deserves. This is perhaps nowhere more true than for go-go. Hip-hop artist and videographer Caktuz came to SXSW two years ago with Rare Essence, the first go-go band to ever play SXSW. He points out how many popular artists, from LL Cool J to Beyoncé have taken from go-go. “Go-go has always been overlooked, go-go has been stolen from, it’s been robbed throughout history,” he says.  

As city leaders bring go-go to their traveling shows and councilmembers introduce resolutions to recognize historic go-go locations around the city, go-go is gaining official support, something Caktuz has noticed. “I think it’s worthy for the city to stand behind it. It’s something that’s home-grown, it’s part of the history, it’s part of the culture of D.C., no matter how you look at it, the same way that black history is American history. It’s not something that you can separate. It is the history, it is the culture, it is the heartbeat of D.C., he says. This is an about-face from the late 1980s, when the city council introduced resolutions that would have banned go-go from live clubs. This official opposition continued in policing trends targeting go-go shows into the 2010s, pushing go-go further out of the city while allowing punk rock to remain. 

Given that the energy of go-go is difficult to re-create in studio or explain with wordslive shows are the best way to evangelizeTwo years ago, Caktuz remembers looking out on people in the crowd who had never heard of go-go before. [They] weren’t familiar with the culture or anything, didn’t know who Chuck Brown was, they didn’t know the difference between bongos and congas,” he says. This year at SXSW, D.C.-based agency Chief put on a go-go-themed party one night, calling it the “Gathering of the Go-Go Nation” (featuring Amazon Web Services), though some D.C. attendees complained there wasn’t enough go-go actually being played.  SOURCE

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