The 2020 Go-Go Awards streamed on Sunday, Nov. 22 with Rare Essence and Snoop Dogg’s “Hit the Floor,” winning Song of the Year. (Courtesy Photo)

By Imani Wj Wright
Special to the AFRO

On Sunday Nov. 22, the Go-Go Museum and Cafe presented the 2020 Go-Go Awards. This  year’s ceremony was broadcasted virtually at Howard Theater, and hosted by D.C. radio hosts, Angie Ange and EZ Street. This is the first award ceremony since Go-Go became the official music of D.C.

“2020 was a historic year for the Go-Go community. Triumphs associated with the Go-Go Official Music of The District of Columbia Designation Act of 2019, and the new status as the official music of D.C. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges and opportunities. As venues closed, we went to our screens to enjoy virtual concerts. New bands started, music was produced, videos were shot– the beat kept going. This year we celebrate our pulse, our city, our culture. Go-Go Forever,” stated the Go-Go Museum & Cafe.

Before the night officially got underway, The Media Prince, DJ Big John, and DJ Rico hosted the Go-Go Awards’ pre-show. Both John and Rico spun Go-Go records, as The Media Prince interviewed several bands and nominees in anticipation of the night. The pre-show amassed over 10,000 viewers, and a hefty comment section, as people commented  things like: “Yes, REPRESENT the CULTURE and the GENRE. GREAT job fellas. Straight CRANK. GOGO MUSIC FOR DECADES…” and “This will be my time ever for the Go-Go Awards I can’t wait.”

Shortly after the pre-show, Angie Ange, and EZ Street were socially distanced as they gave the night’s opening statements. EZ Street exclaimed the significance of hosting the awards at Howard Theater, as Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go, performed there several times and was celebrated there following his passing in 2012. 

The ceremony was not only focused on flourishing bands, but members of the Go-Go community who have had significant impacts to its culture including former D.C. Mayor Marion Bary, Radio/TV personality Donnie Simpson, and club photographer, Greg Sanders (Mr. G). That night, Simpson and Sanders were inducted into the Go-Go Hall of Fame, along with musicians GoGo Mickey, Quentin “Footz” Davidson, and producer Maxx Kidd.

Performances occurred over the course of the night and were quite lengthy, which stayed true to the genre’s form. Draped in all black, D.C. band, New Impressionz, performed a high-energy amalgamation of hits like “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & The Gang, “Fade” by Kanye West, and “Handsome and Wealthy” by Migos- all with a Go-Go swing, of course. 

This year, it was T.O.B., who took home the coveted Band of the Year Award. Rare Essence’s, “Hit The Floor” ft. Snoop Dogg won Song of the Year.

One of the main contributors in making Go-Go become D.C’s official music was Council member, Kenyan McDuffie (D- Ward 5). McDuffie authored the legislation and now has a three-million dollar stimulus plan that was recently passed for the fiscal year of 2021. “I committed to ensuring that making Go-Go music the official music of the District of Columbia, will be followed with investments, real investments. The Go-Go community will soon receive some long overdue financial support for artists and investments to preserve the art and culture of Go-Go music,” said McDuffie.

“Our city continues to change, and now it’s time to hold our elected officials accountable to improving the lives of our most vulnerable residents, many of whom are Black and Brown. Beyond the artistic excellence we’re seeing today, we’re celebrating a whole creative economy.” McDuffie continued. He also went on to name several businesses that benefit indirectly from Go-Go, including barbershops, and beauty salons and even the Go-Go museum itself. 

For the full list of this year’s winners, visit: https://www.thegogoawards.com/2020winners.