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A Great Day in Go - Go (pt. 2) May 21, 2022

On May 21, 2022 Photographer Dee Dwyer will gather the Go - Go community for a group photo inspired by Art Kane's "A Great Day in Harlem" and Gordon Parks' "A Great Day in Hip - Hop" (above)

Invited members of the Go - Go Industry are encouraged to participate. This shoot is NOT open to the public.


Creating a living archive that will uplift the fading Black communities in DC, while allowing the people to participate in the preservation of their own stories is important to me. GoGo is the heartbeat of our city. When you think of authentic Black D.C. culture, our music is the push that’s keeping it alive. As a woman who’s from the heart of the city, Southeast, D.C. I know first hand the effect it has on my people. It breathes inspiration, it represents spiritual healing. I’ve spent years documenting the city including the President. I feel this image is the breath of fresh air we all need. It’ll serve as an exchange of information on a deeper level. Honestly, I hope the President can see it and invite bands to play at the White House. I've never seen an image where all of or at least most members from each band are in one key photo standing together showing our strength as a people collectively. It’s a different level of power and respect for the musical genre that comes with this type of visual I feel.

When I look at Photographer Art Kane’s image “A Great Day in Harlem” which Gordon Parks later re-created for XXL Magazine labeled “A Great Day in Hip Hop”, I was immediately inspired to pay homage to these two legendary photographers who’d come before me and to the GoGo community that introduced me to photography. When Joseph from Nomu Nomu also said I should create this image, I knew we needed to partner to make it happen. He pulled in a team and here we are.

How did I get into photography?

As a teenager I would sneak into the GoGo’s. My favorite bands to see would be Backyard and Rare Essence. I’d pay for fake ID’s or toss the bouncer some extra dough to let me in. While there, I observed people's admiration and appreciation for having their photo taken by the cameraman. Ever since then I’ve always had a camera in my hand documenting my people and sharing it amongst ourselves.

Growing up we didn’t have art in the schools and the way we were represented in the media was mostly negative including the GoGo scene at some point. There was no visual representation of Black artists. Learning about Spike Lee’s work as a filmmaker and seeing how he represents Brooklyn through his storytelling I got inspired to tell my people’s stories on a professional level. Most of the world think of D.C. as being a place where the President stays, they know about the monuments, museums and landmarks. What I want to create with this image is a visual representation of who we are as a people.

I feel you learn more about the people through their music. I want this to be an opener of the conversations that need to be had with the world on “What is D.C.’s Black Culture”. Though a lot of people know and love Gogo , this image will be a huge addition to that movement. I taught art on the Soufside, Uptown and in Trinidad, NE for years. My students didn’t take the subject seriously until I’d show them visuals of Black artists and musicians. It inspired them to tap into their gifts. I visualize the “A Great Day in Go-Go” photo to serve as a reminder that we are beautiful, we are fearless, magical, talented and we ain’t going nowhere. I hope individuals feel inspired to learn more about each person in this photo. It’s strength in numbers which is why I want every member of the bands, sound folks and managers to be present. I don’t want anyone left out! 100 years from now I want for future generations to come to this picture and feel it in their soul to keep the beat rockin. I also hope that other communities in our city can see everyone coming together and they do the same to bring change. There's too much hatred going on. The one thing we all love is GoGo. This is the perfect example of showing love to one another. This is also a message that shows no matter what, you can’t kill culture!

Expectations after the photo is taken:

I hope to have this image in D.C. schools, museums, family albums and just everywhere. It’ll be shared in the Washington Post and with all gogo bands digitally. After the image is taken my team and I plan to do an unveiling in several prominent locations where we’re pushing for bands to be hired to play, speak on panels and more. The first image I took was back in November of 2021. It was beautiful and a nice turn out with over 100 people. I know that we as a people can do better which is why I had to attempt to do this again before I released this photo. The Washington City Paper did a story about the behind the scenes of that day. This is an “All Hands on Deck” situation. I respectfully ask all to come out and be a part of history. We will have free food, drinks, music to keep the vibes going and double dutch to bring that Chocolate City essence to the shoot. All managers have the information of the location and time. I don’t want to say it in this interview lol because the whole DC will come through. We can't have that as I need to ensure I get this shot for the culture. My message to all is, let’s keep inspiring the world and make our city’s heart smile.

Part 1 Recap

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