Behold what gifts manifest from the minds of men who humble themselves before Creation to document their culture. What will we know of our own history without those of us who speak our own stories of our own might? This Black History Month, DC Brand 99 honors our keepers Kato Hammond and Thomas Sayers Ellis. These go-go artists, inspired by go-go music and its people, use words and images to interact with the go-go community, to help guide its self-reflection, and to give voices and lenses to those who might not otherwise be heard, seen, or trusted. In capturing our presence in the present, Hammond and Ellis illuminate the greats upon whose foundation we stand, and they shine The Light toward our highest selves.
Kato Hammond preserves and shares our history via Take Me Out to the Go-Go, which began as a website in 1996 and grew into several print magazine formats, the first online go-go radio show “WTGO,” a DVD version of the magazine, an even more intense and diverse website, the online radio station TMOTTRadio.com, and a graphic and website design business. What he has built is a nurturing source from which many feed; some come in search of themselves, some come to exchange art and ideas, and others come to examine and gas up for free. Take Me Out to the Go-Go (TMOTTGoGo) is of utmost importance because of the information and history provided by Hammond and other writers, but also for the bridge it provides for national and local journalists, artists, and scholars to connect to go-go culture.
Thomas Sayers Ellis (called “TSE”) collects our ‘us’ and disperses our ‘we’ through poetry and photography. He is the author of The Maverick Room (2005), and creator of (Un)Lock It: the Percussive People in the Go-Go Pocket (2011), a collection of photographs that have been on exhibit and made available for order. Thousands of photographs of go-go and its people have been taken and given by TSE, who often drops photo gifts online using social media, email, and other means. Through this selflessness of art, We the People are not basking in vanity, but in the force of beauty within each other and within the go-go. He has given us his eyes, and his art speaks from us, of us, and to us. NOBODY captures go-go as well as TSE does. And that’s just the Black ass Truth.