For the prelude to last night’s reading, Hopkinson provided the bookshop with a mix CD of some of her favorite funk and go-go tracks. It led off with a title track—Parliament’s “Chocolate City.” But the beats didn’t last very long. As Hopkinson recounts on her blog today, almost as quickly as George Clinton’s vocals started up, they were shut down by a customer complaint:A few minutes before my reading, store employee Marshall popped in my CD. Not 30 seconds into my go-go playlist, a white woman went to the cashier to complain. The song in question wasn’t even a go-go song. It was Parliament’s 1970s funk classic “Chocolate City”—a song that took on a moniker that was being used by Washingtonians celebrating the city’s first elected mayor, a black man named Walter Washington.
Hopkinson goes on to write that the woman complained to the store clerk that she found “Chocolate City” to be “racist” and asked that the song be turned off. The store, to Hopkinson’s alarm, complied with the request and shifted to the next track. But, Hopkinson writes, Chuck Brown’s “Run Joe” was no less displeasing to the woman. After a few seconds of the late Godfather of Go-Go, that music was shut off, too.
Wtf….Chocolate City is racist? Sit yo azz down. Totally not surprised that this ish happened in Chevy Chase.
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