Before we go in-depth into this movement, let me tell you a little background on this. For over two decades in the Shaw neighborhood of DC, a local corner store had been playing go-go music from a speaker throughout the neighborhood. For those who don't know, "go-go" is a popular music sub genre associated with funk, rhythm and blues, old school hip-hop and other beats originating in the Washington, D.C. area during the mid-60s and late-70s, which remains popular in the area as a uniquely regional music style. There's usually a live audience.
Go-go music being performed live.PBS
The store has been playing go-go for years and never had an issue with it until one neighbor threatened to sue. What's interesting is the fact that the neighbor who complained was a new resident living in a nearby luxury apartment who threatened to sue the cellphone company for being "too loud." Another interesting fact is that the store hasn't received noise complaints like this or violated the city's rules in decades.
After the news broke out, DC natives had enough of being told what to do and started a petition of 20,000+ signatures in support of go-go music. Also, many natives decided to come together to rally and protest while playing go-go music and having fun. It wasn't just to piss the new residents off, but it was just to have fun and embrace their culture. Many go-go artists came out as well as natives making T-shirts and signs. To add, the entire rally was noting but harmless and peaceful. This isn't just about music being too loud, it's more than that.
My thing is, if you don't like the music, then simply don't live here. No matter how many people move to DC, you can't take away the culture.
A young girl holds a sign in protest of the shutdown of go-go music due to noise complaints.Michael A. McCoy for the Washington Post via Getty Images
Don't let the title fool you. Of course this started from go-go music. But the music symbolizes DC culture and if that gets taken away from the black community, it strips a part of us. I'm sure a more familiar term that people are looking for is gentrification. For those who don't know, gentrification is the process of renovating and "improving" a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. Or, the REAL definition is that it pushes out old residents and place them with new ones who are able to afford these homes. A lot of black people have been the main targets of gentrification and it is completely unfair. That's fine, you want to move into the area. But it's unnecessary to raise taxes, living accommodations, installing a Whole Foods that NOBODY asked for, and MUTING the music because you find it "too loud." I hate to break it to you incoming DC folks, but go-go is here to stay whether you like it or not. After all, no one asked you to move here and there's other cities to choose from. If you live in a city like D.C., people will play music 24/7. Why do you think other cities like New York get called "the city that never sleeps?"
Soon, the protests began to label the movement as the #Don'tMuteDC movement. People from all across the united states began supporting the movement and the hashtag was soon being heard by others.
Sounds of Metro PCS For The Washington Post
Go-go music has been more than just a musical genre. It has been a part of DC culture for decades. Why change that because a rich man wants to live there? These upper-class people may have taken everything from the community, but go-go music is something that will never die out, and that is what newcomers must understand.