The D.C. Taliband has a modicum of publicity outside of their DC Metro supporters. But they plan to change that on Thursday, attempting to win the City vs. City Talent Showcase for the third year in a row with a sound that doesn’t gain a lot of support in the southern part of America.
“We might catch some hate, but we will put on a good show,” said Obika Griffith, 24, the senior education student and lead talker in the band, equivalent to a hype man. Griffith talked about the flack the group received from the audience after their last two City championships and how that may affect this year’s decision.
“I hope we get a fair opportunity,” Griffith said.
The band responded to the “boos” after their second City vs. City performance. “When it comes like that…that’s just them hating,” said Donovan Thomas, a 19-year-old political science student. Thomas, who is a singer in the band, said people are used to certain types of music, and hearing something different is out of character.
Keyboardist Mike Jackson, 23, said the group’s diversity in their style of music will not be compromised. “We’re just going to do what we do regardless,” Jackson said. The senior business student said either people are going to like it or not, but “if you’re going to be blown about it then that’s you.”
Austin Wilkes, a 23-year-old business student and rapper/vocalist, said the hate and bias stems from people outside of “the area” not knowing how to party to go-go music because of a lack of exposure to the genre.
Jackson said the band does not try to exclude any other cities from enjoying their music.
“We would love for everybody to come to our shows,” Thomas said. Jackson agreed with his statement saying, “we don’t want to alienate anyone.”
Jackson pointed out the crowd’s enthusiasm when they incorporated Three 6 Mafia’s “Slob on my K***,” in last year’s performance. Percussionist Antonio Crowde, a 22-year-old economics student, said the group will attempt to catch the ears of the audience with familiar songs this year also.
Jackson said attendants should come to the show with open minds. “We’re definitely going to give them a taste of what go-go really is.”
But according to Jonathan Taylor, committee head of Green Pages and co-planner of the event, the Taliband will have a hard time winning the championship this year.
“We got people in this time to give them competition,” said the 22-year-old marketing student from Chicago.
Taylor said the committee hoped to bring some competition to level the playing ground this year after last year’s failed attempt.
“Chicago almost got them, but DC still came with it.”
Taylor said there are a lot of Facebook groups claiming the Taliband will win again this year. “They’re really cocky now,” Taylor said.
But Griffith does not agree with Taylor’s claims. “Once again, we are not arrogant or cocky.”
Though the band is hyped to play again at the City vs. City Talent Showcase, the group is staying humble. The group said they will be content if they don’t get their “hat trick.”
“Winning City doesn’t make or break the Taliband,” said 21-year-old public relations student Akia Jordan, a vocalist in the group.
The group comprises Griffith, Jackson, Thomas, Crowde, Wilkes, Jordan, percussionist Justin McLeod, 21, vocalist Anthony McIver, 19, keyboardist Elijah Huggins, 19, and bass player Ryne Smith, who is from Indiana and attends Florida State University.