On Monday, Maiesha Rashad lost her five-month battle to stage 4 stomach cancer, D.C.’s WUSA9 reports. Rashad was lovingly known by fans as the First Lady of Go-Go.
Last month, Rashad’s bandmates, The Hip Huggers, family and go-go music’s heavy hitters spoke with WUSA9 about Rashad’s life and musical legacy.
While go-go was known for drawing younger crowds, during the 1990s, Maiesha Rashad and The Hip Huggers brought the seasoned crew out of the house to enjoy their hometown music.
The Hip Huggers usually started the night with sounds that conjured up good vibes like The Stylistics “Betcha by Golly Wow,” Phyllis Hyman’s “Meet Me on the Moon” and the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” They mixed these favorites with go-go flavors, before hopping on the party train with EU Experience Unlimited classics, like the Grammy nominated Da Butt and current jams.
The crew rocked afros and bell bottoms and played to packed houses (that stood in line for hours) especially Northwest D.C.’s Takoma Station. Bandmate and EU frontman Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot credits Rashad with reviving the go-go scene.
“When people came to see it, they couldn’t believe it,” Sugar Bear told WSU9 in May. “This is something totally different. It’s fresh. People could identify with the old school songs that Maiesha was singing.”
On Instagram, Sugar Bear wrote, “The go-go community lost an absolute angel!”
Raina Rashad, the elder Rashad’s only child, also recalled a fond moment for the D.C. news station. “My mom’s band was playing a big concert, one of the big ones in D.C. where the whole street was just filled with people. And they were headlining it and Destiny’s Child opened for them. And I’m just like wait, Beyoncé is opening for my mom’s band? That was pretty crazy,” she said.
Raina, who’s also a musician, said her mother was the ultimate symbol of girl power and blazed the trail for other woman-led bands.
D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser also saluted the classically trained singer. “#DCproud of the joy she brought to our city while breaking ceilings in the go-go industry.”
There’s probably a go-go party in heaven right now with Rashad and the godfather of go-go Chuck Brown taking turns singing lead.