Don’t Mute DC, Go-Go Museum Events Link DC’s Singular Music, Photography and Fashion Industries 6/19 + 6/22

Go-Go Museum & Cafe
4 min readJun 14, 2023


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Video still from an oral history interview with the urbanwear pioneers and “Madness” founders Eddie Van and Ty Johnson. These DC icons will appear at a tribute to DC fashion innovators on Juneteenth. Courtesy of the Go-Go Museum

The Don’t Mute DC coalition of artists, activists and scholars launched a new partnership with the National Folklife Network (an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts) with two Black Music Month events celebrating the links between go-go music, fashion, and photography.

FREEDOM & FASHION: A Juneteenth Conversation and Crank honoring the Pioneers of DC Urbanwear 2 p.m. June 19

Don’t Mute DC’s signature “conversation & crank” series honors Universal Madness co-founders Ty Johnson and Eddie Van’s journey from selling clothes at a DC barbershop in 1983 to becoming global pioneers of urban fashion. Also honored will be the string of iconic Washington, D.C. fashion lines that followed: DDTP (1985), We R One (1995), Alldāz (1998), H.O.B.O. (1996), SHOOTERS (1997), and The Museum (2015).

The public is invited to the new retail village Sycamore & Oak to hear excerpts of oral histories with six of the designers, and an historic conversation with the fashion pioneers appearing together in-person for the first time. Crank will come courtesy of the go-go artists TOB, The Royal Pocket All-Stars, and Black Alley.

“DC…you go way back to the statehood and everything. We always felt like we was an island. We was kinda the stepson to the rest of the family. That family would be the country. Our own music, own language, own culture. It was ‘DC or nothing.’ The clothing lines fit right along in there with the language and with the go-go music.”

— excerpt from Alldaz founder Curtis “Curtbone” Chambers, oral history with the Go-Go Museum.

7 p.m. Jun. 22, 2023 at Busboys & Poets: PIECES OF ME: Music, Memory + Club Photography

Mustafa Tariq, creator of DC Decades, featured this photo of Sean “Diddy” Combs, in the late 1980s at a go-go club called the Eastside, for his followers in Instagram. He will speak on the panel at Busboys & Poets on 6/22.

Thurs. June 22, Don’t Mute DC co-founder Dr. Natalie Hopkinson will serve as guest curator for Humanities DC’s “Culture Series” at Busboys and Poets — 14th and V Streets NW location. “Pieces of Me: Music, Memory and Club Photography,” explores the ways go-go club photographers created an industry and documented Black Washington on its own terms. In addition to Hopkinson, who is also Associate Professor of Media, Democracy and Society at American University, panelists will include Mustafa Tariq, of DC Decades, Maleke Glee, go-go scholar and Director of Stable, LaToya Peterson of Blacks in AI, and go-go sounds courtesy of DJ SupaDan, and photography by Mr. G.

Throughout Black Music Month 2023, Humanities DC invites go-go lovers to be part of history by submitting digital copies of their own “throwback” club photos to be included in the Go-Go Archive at DC Public Library as part of the Pieces of Me Archival project curated by Dr. Hopkinson.

Submit club photos HERE before July 1, 2023.

RSVP for the June 22 event at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V location HERE.


The National Endowment for the Arts supported the first convening of the National Folklife Network in Rapid City, South Dakota in March, 2023 with several groups — primarily of Indigenous, Black, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander descent. Don’t Mute DC’s Ronald “Moe” Moten and Natalie Hopkinson represented the District of Columbia region along with Heritage founder Taylar Enlow, and Howard University postdoctoral fellow Dr. Bryan Jenkins and Howard doctoral student Geneva Greene.

The network supported several District of Columbia activations celebrating traditional arts in Washington, D.C. in June, and several to come for the rest of the year.

L-R: Taylar Enlow, Dr. Bryan Jenkins, Dr. Natalie Hopkinson and Ronald “Moe” Moten visit the “Crazy Horse” memorial in S. Dakota in March, 2023.



Go-Go Museum & Cafe

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