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Bustin' Loose In Langdon: Chuck Brown Memorial Park Unveiled

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Fans and family flocked to Langdon today to witness the formal unveiling of the new Chuck Brown Memorial Park.
Tamika Smith/WAMU
Fans and family flocked to Langdon today to witness the formal unveiling of the new Chuck Brown Memorial Park.

D.C. residents, family and fans took a page from the "Godfather of Go Go" music and did a bit of winding up during today's unveiling of Chuck Brown Memorial Park.

Longtime D.C. resident John Wormley was there this morning, and he recalled when he first met Brown. "I was in high school and I used to play with a band called DC Soul Brothers," he said. "[Brown] was playing in the Young Senators and we opened up for him. That’s something I would always remember." Brown died in May 2012 at the age of 75. He would have been 78 today.

Wormley was one of at least 100 people who came out to Langdon Park in Northeast D.C. to pay homage to Brown. However, like many others, he said the tribute was long overdue.

D.C. mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser attended today's unveiling. (Tamika Smith/WAMU)

Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott, singer and bandleader for longtime go-go ensemble Experience Unlimited (or E.U.), echoed that sentiment. Elliott knew the influential musician personally. "It's bittersweet because I believe things like this should have been done when people are alive," he said. "That’s my personal opinion."

Completing the $1.8 million Chuck Brown Memorial Park came with its share of controversy. The original amphitheater design seated 900, but after neighbors complained, it’s now just a quarter of that size.

Nikos is one of Brown's sons. He was in tears listening to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray proclaim Aug. 22 Chuck Brown Day. "I don’t care if it was just a stone in a park that said Chuck Brown," he said. "It's wonderful to pay homage to him and we appreciate every bit of it.”

Nikos added that after Brown passed away, his family didn’t really mourn; instead they continue to celebrate the life and memory of his father through the music.

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