On Sunday, March 10, history will be made as the first Go-Go Viewer's Choice Awards will be held at La Fontaine Bleue in Lanham, Maryland. The brainchild of GoGoRadio.com's Da Blend Show featuring Bootsy Vegas, Neka Ray and DJ DMoney, will feature 37 categories and will honor 3 pioneers of the genre. James Funk of Rare Essence and Proper Utensils, "Big" Tony Fisher of Trouble Funk and Gregory "Sugar Bear" Elliott of E.U. will all be celebrated with a Lifetime Achievement Pioneer Award.
The idea for the awards show started out as an on-air conversation between the 2 co-hosts and DJ. There have been Go-Go Awards events in the past, but with the combination of the online radio programs and social media itself, like Facebook, this is the first where the fans themselves developed the categories, the nominees and, ultimately, the winners in each category.
Rayneka "Neka Ray" Grant explains, "The Viewers Choice Go-Go Awards began as a small on air announcement for acknowledgement of the Go-Go. We made many posts so people could offer the categories and nominees they wanted to be a part of the awards. Once we created the ballot and posted the link, we had a massive response. Not only were people voting, but people began offering to play, present, and be a part of the program that was only supposed to be announced on air. We had over 6300 votes along with write-ins. We took the top five with the highest votes and made another ballot. Each member of Da Blend Show saved one person per category as its done on X factor and other TV competitions. This time, people were only able to vote once and choose one person per category and no write-ins."
"We tried to include all genres of Go-go music, traditional, gospel, and bounce beat. Im not a musician but this awards show is the least I can do to show my appreciation for the art and the culture. I just appreciate those members of the Go-go community who share my vision and have been supporting us," continues Grant.
The 37 categories include Best New Female, Lead Talker, Rapper, Male Singer, Female Singer, Bass Player, Lead Guitar Player, Keyboard Player Combo, Drum/Conga Combo, Drummer, Conga Player, Timbale/Block Player, Cowbell, Manager, Soundman, GoGo Event of the Year, Venue, Go-Go Host, Go-Go DJ, Go-Go Radio Show, Go-Go YouTube Page, Fan/Supporter, Go-Go Social Media Forum/Thread/Site, Go-Go Single (cover and original), Collaboration, Promoter, New/Up and Coming Band, Go-Go Bartender, Go-Go Dance, Bounce Beat Band, Gospel Go-Go Band, Most Versatile Band and Comeback of the Year.
There are also some notable categories on the ballot. The Change is Good Award gives a nod to those who have moved on to join different bands including Milton "Go-Go Mickey" Freeman's move to Familiar Faces after spending 28 years with Rare Essence.
Nominees for the Chuck Brown Lifetime Achievement Award include Anwan "Big G" Glover, Buggs, Buggy, Donnell Floyd, James Funk, "Little Benny" Harley, Polo and Scooby.
Those nominated for Band of the Year are Backyard Band, Be'la Dona, Black Alley, Da Mixx, Familiar Faces, Ms. Yendy and the Affliliated Project, TCB and W.H.A.T. Band.
The Best of Both Worlds, spotlights nominees who are using their talents both in and out of Go-Go such as Anwan "Big G" Glover, who is an actor appearing on both television and the big screen, most recently in the film "Luv".
Leading the nominations in all categories is Da Mixx with 16 divided between the band itself and it's members. Backyard Band and members are a close second with 15 nominations. Familiar Faces has 14 nominations. Be'la Dona is closely following with 12 nominations while W.H.A.T. Band has 11.
The night will feature performances by L.O.U.D., DreamTeam Band, Project 360, Body of Evidence, a rap cypher with Killa Cal, KK, Dayo, Limegreen and Choppa Black. There will be a special performance of the "2013 Overnight Scenario" with Stefon4U featuring Donnell Floyd. There will also be a highly anticipated reenactment of the final round of the Heartbeat's Conga Hour Conga Battle with winner Smoke and runner up Pooh.
Each band performing has chosen at least one Chuck Brown song and will be performing their own rendition of it. There will also be an all-star band performing a Chuck Brown tribute.
Grant concurs, "I know there is no pleasing everyone, but that's not always a bad thing. If every person was pleased with everything within every event, we would never grow nor would our city's music expand."
Event Details: Sunday, March 10 at LaFontaine Bleue 7963 Annapolis Rd., Lanham, Maryland. Doors Open at 6:00pm and the event starts at 7:00pm.