City leaders talk of park to honor Chuck Brown

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

Updated 1:28 p.m.: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants to dedicate a city park to music icon Chuck Brown.

The mayor, a longtime friend of Brown, said he’d send legislation to the D.C. Council next week to push for the naming.

“It will be a place where it don’t mean a thing if you don’t got the go-go swing,” Gray said during his remarks at a memorial service for Brown at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, who spoke shortly after Gray, said he’d support a park named in Brown’s honor, but he also pressed for the District to establish a center focused on Chuck Brown’s cultural contributions.

“I think it’s only fitting and right that we do all we can to create a Go-Go Hall of Fame,” Kwame Brown said, adding that the facility could be at the park named for the godfather of go-go.

The tributes from Gray and Kwame Brown came one day after D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced legislation on Capitol Hill to recognize Aug. 22 as Chuck Brown Day across the United States.

 

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Updated 12:36 p.m.: The District’s final goodbye to godfather of go-go Chuck Brown is underway.

Thousands of the music icon’s fans showed up at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Thursday for a four-hour memorial service that organizers say will blend musical and spoken tributes.

“One of the reasons I loved Chuck so much was Chuck was always about D.C.,” event host Donnie Simpson said soon after the service began. “That music he created was right here in D.C. It was for the world, but the world had to come get it.”

The event took on a festive atmosphere early, with scores of mourners breaking out into a staple chant of Brown’s performances: “Wind me up, Chuck!” Others danced in the aisles of the convention center before the Brown family entered the room, signaling the formal start of the remembrance.

For hundreds of mourners, the day began before dawn when they lined up to guarantee they'd be able to secure one of the 14,500 seats available for the service, though the room was not full as the service started.

"It's a joyous day," said Jacqueline Reid, who arrived at the convention center at 5:30 a.m. Thursday. "We're celebrating. My heart feels good for him."

Brown died May 16 after a lengthy bout with pneumonia.

 

 

 

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