Don Campbell owns and operates a Metro PCS store in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood, and has blasted go-go music from outside his establishment since it opened in 1995. But he’s had to remain silent for the past two weeks after the threat of a lawsuit by new neighbors.
Campbell said T-Mobile informed him that a resident at one of the new luxury mixed-use developments nearby complained about the noise and threatened a lawsuit if it doesn’t stop. T-Mobile, owners of Metro PCS, told Campbell that the go-go music had to go.
However, a Change.org petition was created and has gathered more than 69,000 signatures, and this week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted that the music can and will continue to play outside of Campbell’s store.
“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.” Campbell said he “feels good” about the decision.
According to Atlanta Black Star, go-go music is a subgenre of funk that emerged in D.C. in the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. Because of its deep rooting with the African American community in that area, protests and town halls formed on the streets and online with people using the hashtag #DontMuteDC. The nation’s capital has already been a victim of gentrification for many years, and the attempt to silence go-go music was another threat to the local culture being erased.
Twitter erupted with opinions and theories about the ban, with one user tweeting, “Stop moving to the city then complaining about the culture. Ruining a tradition of over two decades because of some rich hurt feelings. #DontMuteDC” Another user tweeted, “How on earth do you move into a community and then try to diminish the community’s culture? To the colonizers : AHT AHT #DontMuteDC”
Wale showed his support for his D.C. home, attending a protest event put together by local organizers Justin Johnson, Flex Kartel, Biggs Cooley, Phil Ade, and others to protect the longstanding tradition. The rapper said, “[Go-go music] made me the man that I am today, and I will never let it go, and I’m going to do whatever I can to keep that tradition alive.”
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