State of The Union bar was a lounge and live performance venue in North West DC, on the historic “U Street Corridor”. It was a melting pot of talent and creative incubator hosting a diverse range of live musical acts in the 90’s. The artists that made State of the Union home, played a range of music from Hip-Hop, Funk and Rock to Acid Jazz and Poetry. “The State” reignited the creative scene on U Street and set the vibe for the rebirth of the “You Street” music scene that revived the nightlife in this neighborhood in the late 90’s. This vibrant scene paved the way for the reopening of legendary musical venues on U Street like the Bohemian Caverns and the Howard Theatre in the years that followed.

One of the most unique artist collaboratives to call the State of the Union home was the Vagabond Poetry Series which was held on Wednesdays for several years in the late 90’s. This group held jazz/funk jam sessions where musicians, lyricists and even visual artists could practice their art in a nurturing, energy filled environment. The founders of the Vagabond Poetry Series were David Grandison Jr., Amarleono Burnett, Eric Antonio, Andre Holmes, and Karriem Holman.

The artist who contributed to the Vagabond Poetry Series include:

Ta-Nehisi Coates –Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. and writer for The Atlantic, and the Black Panther graphic novel series.

Toni Blackman

Toni Blackman and the Vagabond Griot M’Wile Yaw Askari

Toni Blackman -Rapper, actress, and writer who was the first hip-hop ambassador to the U.S. State Department.






Adreinne Waheed

Adreinne Waheed (behind the video camera)

Adreinne Waheed -Former Photo Editor Essence Magazine and Author of the photobook, BlackJoy.


Our Address:

1357 U Street NW Washington DC, DC 20009


38.9170050092, -77.0312290693