Street Funk

by Dara Klatt

An open mic and U Street dive bar grad, Reesa Renee cheers on the noise in the city she loves.  

Photo by Shaughn Cooper

Reesa Renee describes her sound and her style as “funky” and “eclectic,” then hypothetically poses, “if Jill Scott and Pharrell [Williams] had a baby and Chuck Brown was the godfather, that would be me.”

The soulful, District-raised and based singer and songwriter who performed this year at the Funk Parade alongside other artists such as Chuck Brown Band, Michelle Blackwell and YahZarah & Wes Felton, put out her first album “Reelease,” in 2012, and has been on the rise of local music scene ever since. Her new album “Time Flies” is due out later this summer.

“I like to call the music I’m about to release ‘tantrum music’ if you will,” she explains. In other words, audience members can “dance it out, jump it out, or scream it out…sing the lyrics with me and kind of vibe and have that whole moment of release.”

Along with the music, her penchant for local, independent clothing designers and mod-meets-street-comfort-cool filtered photos on Instagram have attracted a following of nearly 20K. Insert three first emojis and comments like “You look so dope!” and “loving that ‘fro” here.

As she says, “I’ve got nothing but love my whole career, it keeps me going and inspired and motivated to continue to be myself.”


Embracing the spectacle and pop-up play of the Funk Parade.

[Left] Tashara, Photo by Danielle Hankins and Yasmin Holman; [Right] Photo by Y Pose Images

“There were pop-up street performances and dance parties going on in alleys all throughout the neighborhood. There were people from all over the city dancing on every corner. It brought a huge smile to my face and reminded me how important it is to create that canvas that artists can then contribute to.”

       – Chris Naoum, co-founder of the Funk Parade 

[Left] Photo by Ayodele Mason, OhSnapsAyo; [Right] Marta Sewdu, Photo by Miles Carter

“Seeing the streets shutdown and watching people eagerly gather along T Street, Vermont and U Street was a really special sight. The contrasting images of police sirens, people happily descending onto the iconic Funk Parade route, while the dark clouds settled over the region, was an oddly cool aesthetic. It was beautiful.”

 – Jeffrey Tribble, executive director of Musicanship, the producer of the Funk Parade

[Left] Eastern High “Blue and White” Marching Band, Photo by Genna Byrd Photography; [Right] Future Band DC’s emcee EY, Photo by Ola Kasuma

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