DC’s Funk Parade returns in-person and for a good cause

After a short time away, the eighth annual D.C. Funk Parade returned in person Saturday, bringing the funk back to U Street.

The Funk Parade and concert series featured several stages, along with stops at the African American Civil War Memorial and the Reeves Center.



Various genres from funk, hip-hop and R&B were represented, and at least three performers walked away with $200 gift cards.

For advocates like David Oliver, the parade’s host, and The MusicianShip, a youth development organization that manages the event, one of the goals is to help U Street become what it once was.

The Funk Parade and concert series featured several stages all over U Street, along with stops at the African American Civil War Memorial and the Reeves Center. (WTOP/Anna-Lysa Gayle)

The pandemic “ravished” the District’s music scene, Oliver said, so the Funk Parade gave “artists who perform on U Street and all bus [stops] and who perform a chance to really be seen.”

While the Funk Parade is a gentle reminder of D. C.s past on the top of the music scene, under the direction of The MusicianShip, it also is a way to support area musicians, after-school programs in D.C. Public Schools, and music lessons for kids.

Oliver said he hopes the event continues to grow, as it now competes with Maryland and Virginia to attract and showcase musical talent.

“Lately, everybody is going out in Maryland or Virginia, but D.C. is losing,” Oliver said. “This was the place where Luther [Vandross], Prince … and all of them came running [to D.C.] to perform.”

Anna-Lysa Gayle

Anna-Lysa Gayle is an award-winning reporter and anchor, with five Emmy awards and more. Before joining WTOP, she spent nearly a decade as a TV news reporter for ABC and CBS news affiliates.

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