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Maimouna Youssef kicks off Fort Dupont concert series

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Maimouna Youssef, a Grammy-nominated rapper/vocalist, will perform Saturday evening (July 19, 2014) at Fort Dupont Park to open the annual summer concert series. Also appearing will be reggae group Nappy Riddem, progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon and turntablist extraordinaire DJ Jahsonic.

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Fort Dupont Park in Southeast has hosted free summer concerts for over 40 years. The events were originally created for families that couldn't afford to attend shows at the Kennedy Center and other upscale venues. Legendary musicians like The Ohio Players, Stacy Lattisaw, Regina Belle, Zapp, SOS Band, Roy Ayres and Parliament-Funkadelic have performed at Fort Dupont over the years.

The concert series begins this weekend and will continue for the next three Saturdays (through August 9th). Traditionally the first show of year will spotlight local artists.

Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh) is an incredibly talented singer, rapper and poet. The Baltimore native collaborated with The Roots for their hit song "Don't Feel Right", she was featured on Dave Chapelle's Block Party documentary and she also advanced to the Hollywood round on American Idol. This spring Maimouna received praise for her new mixtape The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh.

Christylez Bacon, a lyricist and multi-instrumentalist from Southeast DC, can play the West African djembe drum, acoustic guitar and is even a skilled human beat-box. Bacon won the 2013 Washington Area Music Award for Best Rapper.

Nappy Riddem is a local reggae band with a nationwide following. They have coined their unique musical style "Dancehall Funk". Nappy Riddem recently toured with reggae superstar Junior Marvin, and they just released a new project entitled The Rock Steady EP.

Jamil "Jahsonic" Hamilton is one of DC's top DJs. Jahsonic is a key member of the Soul Controllers DJ collective and known for his long-running "Main Ingredient" event at Marvin.

The artist lineup for this weekend's kick-off show was assembled by local community organizer and music promoter Maceo Thomas. Thomas was the co-creator of the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest held annually (2008-2010) at Marvin Gaye Park. He creates art shows that highlight local visual artists and non-profit groups under the title Capital Canvases for a Cause. He also throws a popular Memorial Day party called the "Crank The Summer" cookout every year at his home that neighbors Fort Dupont Park. Follow Maceo on Twitter: @maceopiques.

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The Fort Dupont Concert stage is located along Fort Dupont Drive, just east of the intersection of Randle Circle and Minnesota Avenue. Parking is available in the park off of Minnesota Ave. at F Street and at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena at 3379 Ely Place. The shows start promptly at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.

Please note: the Park Police begin bag checks at 5:30 p.m. - no alcoholic beverages are allowed inside the park.

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