From left: Go-go legends E (Optimystic Tribe/Lissen), Sugar Bear (EU), Bubba (Backyard Band), James Funk (RE and Proper Utensils) and Buggie (Backyard Band) attend the ceremonial signing of a bill making go-go the official music of the District of Columbia. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
From left: Go-go legends E (Optimystic Tribe/Lissen), Sugar Bear (EU), Bubba (Backyard Band), James Funk (RE and Proper Utensils) and Buggie (Backyard Band) attend the ceremonial signing of a bill making go-go the official music of the District of Columbia. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

The festivities have begun for members of the ground-breaking go-go band Experience Unlimited (EU), with a fun-filled luncheon held last Saturday. The band, formed in 1971 by students from Charles Hart Middle School in Anacostia, is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
And The Washington Informer could not be more proud of their accomplishments.
During the luncheon, which counts as only the beginning of a list of events that will continue throughout the summer, EU’s members, family and friends, soaked up the spotlight – and they deserved it.
“This is my life,” said Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot, the founding and longest-serving member of EU. “I put a lot of time, grind, sweat and fun into this. Some of my brothers have gone on to glory with Jesus. It speaks volumes that all these musicians are celebrating with me. This is a story that’s never-ending. As long as I’m alive, there will always be an EU.”
Sugar Bear was joined by a host of D.C. residents who have been instrumental in the band’s success including Charles C. Stephenson, Jr., Darryll Brooks, Ron Moten and many others.
Fifty years later, EU remains a powerful cultural force with a repertoire that spans funk, rock and go-go. Their signature piece, “Da Butt,” featured in Spike Lee’s 1988 film ‘School Daze,’ and which recently drew headlines for Glenn Close and Questlove’s shout-out during the 2021 Oscars, continues to be played by DJs across the U.S. and around the world.
And they showed they haven’t lost a step with their Don’t Mute DC-themed performance at the 2019 BET Music Awards while also providing that go-go beat during Juneteenth protest parades on Black Lives Matter Plaza during the reign of former president Donald Trump.
Hats off to the Traditional Arts DC Project at Howard University, the District of Columbia Office of Cable, Television, Music and Entertainment, the Go-Go Museum & Café, Don’t Mute DC, DC Office of Creative Affairs, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage for their sponsorship and collaborative efforts in support of EU’s landmark anniversary.
Go-go scholar and author Charles C. Stephenson Jr., who began managing the musicians in 1971, said EU is all about family.
“When think of EU, it is without any boundaries. I learned so much working with these young men and women. The bond that we have is inseparable. It’s forever,” he said.
EU, keep making D.C. proud. We love ya!

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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