A cell phone store in Northwest will go back to blasting go-go music after the T-Mobile CEO intervened. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC — A cell phone store in the Shaw neighborhood will go back to blasting go-go music after the CEO of T-Mobile intervened — they’ll just have to do it at a somewhat lower volume.
Since the 1990s, the Metro PCS store at the corner of Florida Avenue and 7th Street NW has been loudly playing go-go music, a genre that was born right here in D.C. But residents of a newly constructed apartment building apparently complained, forcing the store to stop playing the music.
The move outraged the local community, who saw it as another sign that gentrification was threatening to wipe out local culture. Soon, the #DontMuteDC hashtag was trending, and crowds filled the streets this week to protest and to dance.
You can’t help but bounce once the GoGo hits your ears #DontMuteDC pic.twitter.com/Ax7uimWdDB— &pizza (@andpizza) April 10, 2019
Word came down Wednesday that the protests were successful: the go-go music would resume. And it was apparently because the protests had caught the attention of T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
I’ve looked into this issue myself and the music should NOT stop in D.C.! @TMobile and @MetroByTMobile are proud to be part of the Shaw community – the music will go on and our dealer will work with the neighbors to compromise volume. https://t.co/qXvwzmc24E— John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 10, 2019
Nearly 70,000 people had signed a petition to bring back the music as of Thursday morning.
"Neighbors in newly constructed condos across the street pressured the city and then T-mobile, to force the owners to stop playing the music," the petition reads. "Tell T-mobile, the city, and residents who don’t understand the cultural significance and history of go-go music in Washington, D.C. that this is unacceptable. Bring back the music!"
The petition slams "gentrifiers [who] malign, assault and attempt to erase this culture." The petition was started by Ronald Moten, a "longtime peace activist" and go-go promoter, and Dr. Natalie Hopkinson, the author of "Go-Go Live," a book published in 2012 that chronicles the history of Black Washington DC through its music.
Go-go is a music subgenre associated with funk that arose in the mid-60s to late 70s. It is a mix of funk, rhythm and blues, and old school hip-hop.