Attending the “Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp” exhibit in Suitland, MD
One of the best things about now living in Delaware, is that I am just that much closer to one of my favorite places in the world, Washington DC.
Next week I will be sneaking across the border from Delaware, into Maryland, right outside of DC, to a place called Suitland, MD, a short 1.5 hr drive for me. My daughter and I will be using one of Harriet Tubman’s favorite routes (Modern day US Route 301.)
Hell yeah, I am jacked to be traveling the same roads as Harriet Tubman!!!
The Doo Wop exabit features 60 or so photographs and accompanying mini-bios, along stage-worn clothes. There’s a fetching yellow, shawl-collar tuxedo jacket that was worn by Herb Cox of the Cleftones and a white fringed pantsuit loaned by Sandra Bears of Washington’s own Jewels.
That might not sound like much to you. However, supporting Doo Wop is a major activity for Soul-Patrol and those of you who know me well, know that I relish any opportunities I get to do just that. The fact that my daughter will be my “road dog” for this trip is an added bonus. For those of you keeping track she is almost 30 years old and some of you will remember me bringing her with me when I interviewed Frankie Lymon’s Teenagers before one of their shows in Plainfield NJ, when she was a young teenager (bout 2003.) I know that Bobby Jay remembers, because he asks me about my daughter every time, he sees me….lol At that time, she had just seen the movie about Frankie Lymon, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” and she had a huge crush on the actor who played Frankie Lymon in the movie (Lorenz Tate.) During the interview she asked Herman Santiago a bunch of questions about Frankie Lymon and of course, Herman Santiago took her to school with respect to drugs & the music business.
Now I’m not about to BS any of yall and tell you that my daughter became a fan of Doo Wop as a result of this experience. That would be a lie. She really isn’t. She’s no different than any other Black woman you know who is approaching the age of 30. How many of them do you know who are fans of Doo Wop music? However, she totally gets the connection to Black History and understands it’s relationship to Soul, Rock n Roll and even Hip Hop. And when I told her about my plans, she said that she wanted to come with me.
Anyhow, if you are in the DC area for either work or pleasure, a doo wop fan or you would like to learn a little more about it, you also should consider attending.
“Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp” is up through Sept. 15 at Creative Suitland, 4719 Silver Hill Rd. (creativesuitland.org); open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
And remember that every time I see George Clinton, he tells me; “Keep reminding the people about Doo Wop, because without Doo Wop there is no Funk…”
Press Release: Doo-Wop Under The Street Lamp
The History of Early Rhythm & Blues Through Photography and Memorabilia
In a powerful tribute to the original pioneers of early Rhythm and Blues of the late 1940s through the early 1960s, The African American Music Association in partnership with Creative Suitland Arts Center and the Atlanta Doo-Wop Association, presents Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp: The History of Early Rhythm & Blues Through Photography & Memorabilia.”
Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp is a gallery exhibit featuring 60 photographs of Doo-Wop music vocal groups, solo artists, and gospel harmony groups whose harmonies ushered in the sounds of early Rhythm and Blues during the late 1940s into the 1950s.
Mounted collections include archival photographs of groups and artists such as The Chantels, The Orioles, The Swallows, The Cardinals, The Drifters, Lavern Baker, The Golden Gate Quartet, The CBS Jubilee Quartet, The Cleftones, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Moonglows, and many others. Also included are local D.C. Doo-Wop groups The Clovers, The Rainbows, The Jewels, The Starlighters, The Marquees (featuring a young Marvin Gaye) and more. Poster billboards created by Globe printing company in Baltimore advertising shows at the Howard Theater and the Warner Theater during the golden age of Doo-Wop will be on display.
Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp also showcases memorabilia including the “T” sweater worn by the legendary group Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers in the 1950s (“Why Do Fools Fall In Love”). The sweater was donated to the exhibit by Jimmy Merchant, one of two living original Teenagers. Also on display is an on-stage uniform worn by the late Herbie Cox, an original founding member of The Cleftones (“Heart and Soul”), a pair of shoes worn on-stage during the 1950s by Lois Powell of the legendary girl group, The Chantels (“Maybe”) and fringe pants and top worn on stage by The Jewels member Sandra Bears.
“The exhibition, Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp documents the history of an important genre of African American music and its contribution to American popular culture. The Creative Suitland Arts Center is proud to display this important collection of music history,” says Malachi Robinson, Director.
Beverly Lindsay-Johnson, Executive Director of the African American Music Association and Curator of the exhibit states, “People visiting the exhibit take a nostalgic journey back to their youth and begin singing songs of many of the groups on display.”
Doo-Wop Under the Street Lamp will be on display Tuesday, July 5 through Wednesday, September 15 at the Creative Suitland Arts Center, 4719 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD, Mondays through Fridays, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Fridays – CLOSED, Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.,
Sundays, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Arts Center closed Labor Day Holiday)
Open to the Public. Free Admission.
For interviews and further information contact:
Beverly Lindsay-Johnson, AAMA; phone: 202 552-0000; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Malachi Robinson, Creative Suitland Arts Center; phone: 240 838-3510