‘A lady her age, doing Da Butt like that?’ E.U.’s Sugar Bear on Glenn Close’s Oscars rump shake


In an Oscars ceremony filled with surprises, perhaps the biggest came when 74-year-old Glenn Close dropped some detailed knowledge about “Da Butt” — then jumped out of her seat and did the dance that gave the late-’80s go-go classic its name.

Spun on Sunday by Oscars DJ Questlove as part of a bit about the awards’ history with various songs from movies, “Da Butt” was recorded by the Washington, D.C., group Experience Unlimited, better known as E.U., for Spike Lee’s 1988 film “School Daze.” It didn’t score an Oscar nomination, though the song topped Billboard’s R&B chart and became a staple of go-go, the danceable funk style that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser last year designated as Washington’s official music.

As The Times reported Sunday, Close’s participation, including her name-check of E.U. frontman Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot, was scripted in advance. But that didn’t seem to have dimmed Elliot’s enthusiasm about “Da Butt’s” viral moment when we reached him on the phone at a D.C. recording studio Monday morning.

Experience Unlimited's Valentino "Tino" Gordon Jackson, Gregory "Sugar Bear' Elliot and Kent Wood
Valentino “Tino” Gordon Jackson, Gregory “Sugar Bear’ Elliot and Kent Wood of E.U. in June 1989.
(Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Were you watching the Oscars last night?
No. People called me and told me to watch it, and I caught it just in time. I said, “Wow!”

So obviously you didn’t know about the bit in advance.
No, I didn’t. At all.

Are you friendly with Questlove?
Yeah, I know him. I don’t know Glenn Close though. Well, I knew her from “Fatal Attraction,” the movie. Great actress.

Did you care that the bit with “Da Butt” was scripted?
Nah. She did a great job. A lady her age, doing Da Butt like that? Come on, man.

Did you have any sense when you recorded “Da Butt” that it would go on to have such a long life?
I never thought it would be half — not even a fraction as big as it is. And now it’s still being played 32 years later. That is amazing. I thank God for allowing it to happen.

From Daniel Kaluuya’s joke about his parents having sex to Glenn Close’s dance moves to ‘Da Butt,’ catch up on the highlights from Sunday’s Oscars.

Do you recall any talk back in the day that it should’ve been nominated for an Oscar?
We were Grammy-nominated [for R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal], so that itself was a mind-blower. To be mentioned among all the greats, that right there was an inspiration.

You have a favorite song about butts besides “Da Butt”?
Well, “Da Butt” is my favorite song of all time. But you can go from “Da Butt” to “We Are One” by Frankie Beverly & Maze and “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. I got a wide variety of music in my life.

Any thoughts on D.C.’s push for statehood?
It’s way overdue. We paying taxes for what? For nothing. We have no voice.

Feel good about your chances?
You always get that hope. But all I can say is we’ll see.