(Photo: Courtesy Peekaso)
A memorial service for Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown took place Thursday (May 31) and it was anything but your typical ceremony. Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center just two days after more than 12,000 attended his public viewing at Howard Theatre, the service left attendees smiling, laughing and at times even dancing in the aisles.
According to The Washington Post, longtime D.C. radio personality Donny Simpson served as a master of ceremonies for the memorial that featured words from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown and former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry who shared stories of Brown's coming of age. There were performances from top go-go bands and other D.C. artists like Raheem Devaughn, Sugar Bear, Huggie Low Down and The Chuck Brown Band.
Celebrity artist Peekaso, who was on hand at the funeral to paint a piece for the Brown family live during the ceremony, talked to BET.com about his contribution to the aesthetics of the funeral.
"The picture I chose was the one they had on the front of the obituary and being that they chose that one I figured that for whatever reason that picture was dear to them," he explained. "On the other side I had a picture of Chuck playing the guitar just to show him in action and doing what he does best. Under it I had the people cheering him on. You know he’s a people’s person. I wanted the crowd to show how he affected a lot of people and we got the Capitol in the background just to symbolize D.C. a little bit. Just being in the building it was definitely inspiring and a humbling situation.”
Peekaso recalls painting on stage for Brown similarly during one of his shows about a year ago.
"I had the extreme pleasure of rocking with him too at the 930 Club," he continued. "I literally painted on stage during his set. It definitely was a pleasure. In the words of the former mayor Marion Berry, on top of him being a musical genius he was also a people person. He’d stop talk to anybody, take a picture with different people you know he just had a certain charm with him so that’s what made Chuck Brown, Chuck Brown the humble living legend. It was definitely a pleasure being able to cross his path a couple of times and interact with him and definitely painting less than 20 feet from where they had his casket at. It’s like I’m still in awe; it’s still like a wow factor to me. That’s Chuck Brown. That’s D.C."
As previously reported, Chuck Brown passed away on May 16 after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 75 years old.
Plans are in the works to honor the late music icon by making his birthday, August 22, "Chuck Brown Day" in and around the Washington D.C. area.
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