D.C. Gives Chuck Brown Rousing Sendoff

Barrington M. Salmon | 6/6/2012, 11:35 a.m.

"I'm not here as a former mayor or council member but as a friend of Chuck Brown's. I've known him for 40 years," Barry, 76, said. "Everyone tells you they're your friend through thick and thin and when it thickens up, they thin out. Chuck Brown never thinned out."

"Someone asked me, 'how did Chuck die?' but the better question is how did Chuck live?"

Barry described a man who loved and was committed to his family, one who treasured friends and a musical genius who was deeply devoted to his music.

"I met him at Pride, Inc.," Barry recalled. "Chuck Brown came and turned the place out. He was a great inspiration to young people. He said you don't have to stay where you are. Chuck Brown was about teaching, reaching people, letting them know they could be anything."

Among the family and friends who spoke or performed were Big G, Darryll Brooks, comedian Mike Epps; the Rev. Michael A. Freeman of Spirit of Faith Church; Raheem DeVaughn; Sugar Bear; Chris Paul and Huggy Lowdown; Cliff Jones; Ledisi; Tye Tribbett; Kindred Family Soul; and the Chuck Brown Band and Brown family members.

Epps came to honor Brown who was in the audience when Epps performed at Constitution Hall.

"I thought I would never get a chance to meet him but I was at the Merriweather Post Pavilion with 'green eyes' [Simpson], smoking a 'cigarette,'" Epps said. "Chuck came and told me, 'put it out, put it out, put it out, but let me get a hit before you do.'"

Epps had the crowd in stitches - even Barry - when he joked that he asked Brown where they could get more marijuana and Brown told him, 'Hold on, let me call Marion Barry.'"

The Chuck Brown Band played a stirring medley as the service ended that had audience members on their feet, on chairs, rocking from side-to-side and singing every lyric.

Kwame Brown's advice to D.C. newcomers illustrated the unbreakable connection between D.C. residents and Go-Go.

"To everyone who just moved to D.C. who have a problem with Go-Go - get over it. Chuck Brown is Go-Go, Go-Go is Washington, D.C. and there's nothing wrong with Go-Go."