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Photo credit: MARVIN JOSEPH


Natalie Hopkinson is Associate Professor of Media, Democracy and Society at the American University and Chief Curator for the Go-Go Museum & Cafe.

She is author of three books, and former staff writer, editor and columnist for media outlets including The Washington Post, The Root and HuffPost. Her 2007 doctoral thesis on Washington, D.C.'s go-go music genre and culture was the first of its kind and shaped her activism: She co-founded the Don't Mute DC movement to combat cultural erasure and anti-Black policies using street party/protests; published an essay in the New York Times   that politely pushed lawmakers to pass DC Law 23-71, which made Go-Go the Official Music of Washington, D.C.; and helped to create the Go-Go Museum & Cafe.  

She was appointed to the Culture Caucus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the National Folklife Network of the National Endowment for the Arts. She has done curatorial consulting with Humanities DC, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and Africa Foto Fair in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Honors include: “Pushy Woman” for her work cleaning up a racial mess at her local arts commission, “voice for racial justice” “the art of the essay,” “flame of inspiration,” and her children who named her “Dr. Go-Go.”  She was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Guyanese parents, and grew up in Indiana and Florida before settling in Washington, D.C. She studied at Howard University and the University of Maryland-College Park. Black and Indigenous art and knowledge systems are her jam. She loves to collaborate with people who also believe we can make a world where everyone is heard, everyone belongs, and everyone is free. 

Email: DrGoGo @ 

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Natalie Hopkinson's books include: A Mouth is Always Muzzled (2018, The New Press), Go-Go Live (2012, Duke University Press) and Deconstructing Tyrone with Natalie Y. Moore (2006, Cleis Press). Her writing was recognized by the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, PEN-America, and the Independent Publishers Association, SPIN Magazine, among others.

The Capstone Group, the D.C. Commission on Women, and The Poverty & Race Research Action Council named her a “flame of inspiration” and “cultural influencer” and “voice for racial justice.” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed Nov. 5, 2021 “Pushy Woman Day” in Washington, D.C. to honor her success challenging entrenched special political interests in the arts. She is the recipient of the 2023 Artist Activist award from the Canady Foundation for the Arts. 

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