According to the DCist, a bill making go-go the official music of the District of Columbia was unanimously voted on and now it just has to pass a second vote from the D.C. Council and a signature from the mayor. The bill, which was introduced by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, would also make the city implement programs to support and preserve the hometown music of the District.
The conversation about sustaining go-go music reached a climax last year when the Shaw Metro PCS store was forced to cut off the music that had blasted from outside the front door for decades. A gentrifier complained about the music, causing residents and organizers to fight back with a #DontMuteDC campaign.
Soon, protests and concerts like “Moechella” started popping up across D.C. bringing attention to the celebrated music and the threats of gentrification. “Moe” is a term commonly used across the D.C. metropolitan area. A “Million Moe March” was even organized by Justin “Yaddiya” Johnson and “Long Live Go-Go” posters were plastered across D.C.
“What you see now is a new age of rebellion,” Kymone Freeman, co-founder of We Act Radio, explained to the DCist back in May. “We’re rebelling against the status quo that gentrification is natural and we have to get prepared for it. We’re here to say to the powers that be that gentrification is cultural genocide, and the result of public policy without public input.”
An October hearing on McDuffie’s bill proved how committed people were to preserving go-go music. Statements were made from members of iconic go-go bands. Even actress Regina Hall, who’s from D.C., brought attention to the #DontMuteDC movement with a go-go filled performance at last year’s BET Awards.
Gentrifiers will also be happy to know that a go-go museum is being planned for the Anacostia area in D.C. The organizer, Ron Moten, is continuing to raise funds on GoFundMe to help finish the project at Check It Enterprises, a Southeast culture center.
The current support for go-go music marks a shift even within D.C. politics, considering there were efforts made by city council to silence go-go music in the 1990s and 2000s. The music used to be associated with violence and some representatives once advocated for curfew laws, fines and heavy policing of go-go clubs.
However, it seems the tides have turned now that the larger threat of gentrification is affecting D.C. “Go-go music,” the bill explains, “is a multifaceted art form that fully captures the cultural and artistic expressions of the District.”