Please, don’t let Go-go go-go


Graphic by Stella Schwartzman

Kamryn Bess

As a native Washingtonian, I’ve grown up listening to Go-go music on the radio. It’s considered a staple of DC’s culture that has been around for years, and is especially important within the Black community.

But recently, the staple genre was threatened. Go-go is the sound of pre-gentrified DC, and it’s slowly been silenced with the influx of wealthy, predominantly white people. Last spring, a series of protests occurred under the hashtag #Don’tMuteDC. The protests were held to preserve some of DC’s original culture, after a store owner received a complaint about the Go-go music he’d been playing out front for 25 years. 

Imagine this: You’ve always considered DC your home, a place where your culture and family have flourished for years. Now you watch as DC grows into a place that is nearly unrecognizable to you. The neighbors you once knew are being systematically pushed out, the culture that once surrounded you is being slowly but surely erased. However, this doesn’t prevent you from proudly displaying your appreciation for it, day in and day out. 

Soon after, many people from all over the city came together to ensure the protection of Go-go music, which led to a bill being passed to “preserve and archive Go-go music and its related documents and recordings” Ward 5 councilmember Keyan McDuffie said.

But the stem of the issue is not Go-go music; it’s the fact that such an important part of our culture was so easily jeopardized. Gentrification is an issue that is talked about often, but it really hit home when #Don’tMuteDC came up. It introduced the idea that if you are pushed out, your culture goes with you to DC This might seem obvious, but we haven’t seen such a vibrant response in honor of an aspect of DC that was being replaced by favorites of younger generations.

We are living through a time of rapid change, and it’s more important than ever to respect DC’s unique culture. It’s only appropriate that the capital of the country is just as much of a melting pot as the entire US is. Our city has such an extraordinary way of life that I and so many others love, and it’s one that deserves to be protected. We must not let those who try to take Go-go, something so foundationally ‘DC’, away.