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AUGUST 24 & 25
The late ’80s and early ’90s have witnessed an increasing lack of artistry among R&B performers. Bad Boy founder Puffy Combs has cornered the market on hack work by using the same track to promote different artists. Challenging Puffy’s monopoly on triteness are acts like Mokenstef and Adina Howard, who brought such innovative cuts as “Sex in the Rain” and “Freak Like Me.” Not exactly Solomon Burke or Sam Cooke. Fortunately, the past year has seen a return to creativity by an assortment of artists, and this weekend’s Georgia Avenue Day will be a showcase for some of them, including Monifah and D’Angelo. D’Angelo mixes a smoothed-out soul sound with hiphop, while Monifah brings her gritty voice to bear over tracks produced by Heavy D. On another tip, check out some of the local acts, such as Freestyle Union MCs Toni Blackman, Kokayi, Subzero, and Rub. Freestyle U is part of the still-small pool of groups maintaining a commitment to artistic excellence. Expect them to represent for the locals. Parade begins Saturday at 10 a.m. at Georgia & Eastern Aves. NW. Emery Festival, Georgia Ave. & Madison St. NW; Banneker Festival, Georgia Ave. & Barry Pl. NW. From 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Satuday; noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. FREE. (202) 723-5166. (Ta-Nehisi Coates)