Gentrifiers have been trying to whitewash Black communities all over the country for decades now. However, one store in Washington, D.C., has unwittingly caused an uprising and now residents in the nation’s capital are fighting back in the best way ever. The Save Chocolate City Protest took place at the historic northwest Washington intersection of 14th and U streets Tuesday night and reportedly had more than 3,000 people in attendance.
Dubbed Moechella — a name that combined the Coachella music festival with “Moe,” a pronoun for a friend exclusively used in D.C. — the gathering invited people to demonstrate against gentrifiers who have been fighting the city’s native go-go music. D.C.’s paling population was most recently exemplified by a tone-deaf white man who wondered aloud on live TV why Howard University couldn’t just relocate to make room for other people who look like him.
Situations like that united Black D.C. Tuesday night for Moechella.
In case you missed it, a Metro PCS store in the historically Black Shaw neighborhood has been playing go-go music without any complaint for nearly a quarter of a century. But that all changed in March when T-Mobile, Metro PCS’ parent company, ordered an end to the musical tradition.
An online petition to keep the store playing its go-go-music was nearing its goal of 10,000 signatures.
That complaint silenced the music for several days. The hashtag #Don’tMuteDC went viral and there were protests with some local lawmakers joining. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau, who represents Shaw, wrote a letter to T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs outlining the city’s history and go-go’s place in it, the Post said. Mayor Muriel Bowser added her voice to the protest.
By April 10, T-Mobile yielded to the increasing pressure and authorized the Metro PCS store to turn the music back on, the Washington Post reported.
John Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile U.S., tweeted his support for the longstanding tradition to continue.
Go-go music, typically described as funky percussion-based instrumentation, is many times compared to a junkyard band (in fact, one of the top go-go groups is called Junk Yard Band). Protesters feared that the muting of the speakers outside the mobile phone store was just a first step in a larger attack on their culture.
As shown Tuesday night, the protests were far from over. See the epic images from Moechella below.