Beat Diaspora: Beats, Buses, Bricks

an omnivorous take on music of the beat-based variety and the urban spaces that nurture it

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Go-Go Photo

If you're looking for go-go, hip-hop, and R&B in the DMV (that's District, Maryland, & Virginia to you), then look no further than Take Me Out To The Go-Go. It's a one-stop shop that's been flooding my inbox lately with multiple daily e-flyers, mixtape announcements, and something that really caught my eye: TSE's pick of the week photo. TSE is Thomas Sayers Ellis, a photographer and poet. He's a co-founder of The Dark Room Collective, which has its roots in my recent stomping grounds up in Cambridge. In fact, I believe their Victorian HQ was around the corner from where I lived this year.

He's now working on a book of photography, The Go-Go Book: People in the Pocket in Washington, D.C. If the TMOTTGG pick of the week is any indication, he's captured a very rich slice of life in our nation's capital. And he writes a mean poem to boot --

The Return of COLORED ONLY

One of these badass,
glorious days,
the signs and negative sounds
that worked against us

will all begin their tenures
of service, their holy and complex repentance.
It has already begun with
"Nigger" and "Bitch"
and for this we have young folks to thank,
their disrespect and fearlessness.

Naturally, this will scare
the civil rights out of some
and, for a mad-moment, empower
a great many wrong-cultured others.

To this "The Return..."
will either code switch or hood ornament,
drama-drumming both––a cult-nats matrimony
of the vernacular re-mix: ain’t studin’ you,
nommo no more nommo,
stop studin’ us.

All yall who tell yall hearts Art,
your Bama Hour is, again, up-struggling
as we (credits and debits alike)
hang and unhang the old slanders ourselves

--not as segregationists
(although that wouldn’t be
that bad, given...) and not as Air Februarians
(.., given…) but as identity repair-people,
faders of trick moves, trope-a-dopes
and okey dokes,

laying our dice down like ( ) we love us.

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