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TMOTTGoGo Honors Musical Contributors at Howard Theatre

TMOTTGoGo Honors Six at the Hoard Theatre
TMOTTGoGo Honors Six at the Hoard Theatre
Kevin "Kato" Hammond

Thursday, March 27th marks the TMOTTGoGo 2014 Honors at the Howard Theatre. This year's honorees include Michael "Funky Ned" Neal, William "JuJu" House, Cherie Mitchell-Agurs, Donnell Floyd, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Jason Lewis.

This awards ceremony came about in the midst of the TMOTTGoGo online fundraiser, when the Howard Theatre contacted TMOTTGoGo owner Kevin "Kato" Hammond to see if there was an interest in continuing the fundraiser there, hosted by The Howard Theatre. Hammond decided to use this as a platform to honor some key figures in the music industry.

TMOTTGoGo, currently in it's 18th year, is an online publication that focuses on the culture of the DMV.

Hammond explains, "There are so many people who deserve to be recognized for the achievements they have made over the years, but we can only do but so many at a time. That's why the desire to make it an annual event is a big deal. This particular time we wanted to recognize some of the people whose work has extended far beyond GoGo and has inspired so many. These honoree's careers exemplify just how far you can indeed go, which is basically around the country... around the world. They are examples showing others that there are no boundaries."

Bassist Michael "Funky Ned" Neal, one of the founding members of Rare Essence, has toured the world with Maxwell and MeShell NdegeOcello. He has also contributed to careers of both local and national artists as a producer and engineer.

William "JuJu" House, drummer extraordinaire, picked up his first set of drum sticks at the age of six. Since then, he has travelled the world with E.U. and Chuck Brown and has worked extensively with Chaka Khan, Arrested Development, Roberta Flack and Grace Jones to name a few.

Cherie "Sweet Cherie" Mitchell-Agurs first started playing keyboards at the age of five. She has performed with a roster of "Who's Who" artists including Nile Rodgers and Chic, George Duke, Jean Carne, Prince, Pieces of a Dream, Stephanie Mills, Chaka Khan, Elton John and Michael Bolton as well as Chuck Brown and her own band, Be'la Dona, who just performed on the Tom Joyner Cruise. Mitchell-Agurs is also part of the cast of Divas D.C. 'The Cream of the Crop'.

Donnell Floyd recently celebrated 30 years in the music business earlier this year. Floyd, a well known saxophonist and lead talker, is also a very astute businessman once owning Kolossal Records, Q.A.D. Records and part interest in the Ibex Club as well as other ventures. He captured the attention of fans as a long time member of Rare Essence and can be heard on the hits "Lock It", "Overnight Scenerio" and "Work the Walls". Upon leaving Rare Essence, Floyd formed 911 and later, his current band Familiar Faces playing almost every night of the week. Floyd was also a member of the Chuck Brown Band.

Thomas Sayers Ellis, award winning poet as well as photographer and professor, was also a member of the band Petworth. Ellis has published poetry books "The Maverick Room", "Skin Inc.: Identity Repair Poems" and "The Helicopter/ Gone Pop" to name a few. He also is credited as presenting the first exhibition of go-go photos in a gallery showcase called "(Un)Lock It: the Percussive People in the Go-Go Pocket."

Jason Lewis of 3DB (3rd Dimension Band) is also an employee of the D.C. Department of Parks & Recreation. Lewis has parlayed that experience into creating his own organization called Team Youth Work, where they aid, encourage, and assist in the nurturing of the youth.

Hammond also shares, "Another thing that I wanted to do with this program is to use it as an opportunity to give other up and coming groups and artists the opportunity to show their talents on the Howard Theatre stage. I'm probably even more syced about that aspect."

The evening will be hosted by Go-Go Michelle with special performances by All 4 U, Bootsy Vegas, Divas DC 'The Cream of the Crop', Dynasty, Obsession and Kendall the Jack of All Trades.

Past honorees include "Big" Tony Fisher of Trouble Funk, Gregory "SugarBear" Elliott of E.U., James "Jas. Funk" Thomas of Proper Utensils/ Rare Essence and Benny "Little Benny" Harley (The Helicopter).

The TMOTTGoGo Honors will be held Thursday, March 27th at 7:30pm (Doors 6:00pm) at The Howard Theatre, 620 T Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tickets $20 or $25 day of the show. For tickets and information, visit www.thehowardtheatre.com .