The owner has been playing go-go music from his storefront for the past 24 years.
The owner of a Metro PCS store in Washington, D.C., was forced to turn off his go-go music after receiving complaints from nearby residents, with one of them even threatening to sue.
In a report from the DCist, Donald Campbell was told that he had to stop playing go-go music from a higher-up at T-Mobile (the wireless network operator acquired Metro PCS back in 2012) after a resident threatened the company with a lawsuit. Campbell has since started playing the music in the store.
Campbell has played go-go music from his storefront, which is in the Shaw neighborhood, for the past 24 years. Although the neighborhood has long been predominantly African-American, the demographic has shifted in the past decade. As the DCist noted, the black population in Shaw has dropped from 78 percent in 1990 to 44 percent in 2010.
“Generations of Howard students, generations of people know that I play music every single day,” Campbell said. “We started selling [go-go] tapes, now we’re selling CDs. I always liked the go-go bands, I always tried to keep the music alive.”
Campbell claimed that the resident who threatened to sue lives in The Shay, a nearby luxury mixed-use development. The building, which was developed by JBG Smith (JBG retains ownership of the retail but they sold the residential component at The Shay back in 2015), issued a statement saying that it is “not involved in any action regarding the Metro PCS store. The opinion of a purported resident is theirs alone and does not represent The Shay, or the entirety of its residents or management.”
“We respect the importance of Go-Go music to the local and indeed regional culture. We believe we can all enjoy Shaw when we respect one another,” the statement said.
The #DontMuteDC has sprung up following the news, with people using it to speak on the situation. DC councilmembers have even used the hashtag to offer their thoughts on the matter.
— Larry Miller (@LarryMillerTV) April 9, 2019
“People have complained to me about this over the years, but I’ve always said that a small business playing go-go in Ward 1 is a thing we should celebrate,” Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who represents the portion of Shaw the store is in, tweeted.
This is so frustrating. People have complained to me about this over the years, but I've always said that a small business playing go-go in Ward 1 is a thing we should celebrate. They only do it during business hours, and there are always people outside enjoying it. https://t.co/x8d1c6MYnNTRENDING VIDEOS
— Brianne K. Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau) April 8, 2019
A petition has also been started on change.org about Campbell having to turn off his music. The petition argues that “Go-go is the soul and heartbeat of Washington, and we refuse to be silent as gentrifiers malign, assault and attempt to erase this culture.”
Ronald Moten, the man who started the petition, has also been speaking with residents who want Campbell to turn down the music, according to ABC7 WJLA.
As for Campbell, the Metro PCS store owner hopes to reach a resolution with T-Mobile that will allow him to turn up his music again.