Go-go in Shaw is back on after protest, petition

The music that has played outside a Metro PCS location in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood for 24 years is back on. The store is known among locals for playing go-go music on loud speakers during business hours, but it’s been quiet for the last month.

#DontMuteDC went viral after the owner of a Metro PCS in Shaw was told to turn off the go-go music he's been playing for 24 years. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
#DontMuteDC went viral after the owner of a Metro PCS in Shaw was told to turn off the go-go music he’s been playing for 24 years. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
People danced outside the store Wednesday to celebrate the return of go-go after a month of silence. A neighbor in a nearby luxury building threatened to sue T-Mobile over the noise, leading them to silence the locally beloved music. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
An artists who grew up in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood started painting a picture of the store and plans to post a picture online. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
 A street named for the godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown, is near the store. Go-go music originated in D.C. and activists said attempts to silence a store that has played it for the last 24 years is erasure of D.C.'s history and culture. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A street named for the godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown, is near the store. Go-go music originated in D.C. and activists said attempts to silence a store that has played it for the last 24 years is erasure of D.C.’s history and culture. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Activists and locals rallied in support of a Metro PCS in Shaw after the owner was forced to turn off the music. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
The owner of the Metro PCS, Donald Campbell, sells the music of local go-go bands at his story. “We want to keep the culture going, we want to keep the bands going,” Campbell told WTOP. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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#DontMuteDC went viral after the owner of a Metro PCS in Shaw was told to turn off the go-go music he's been playing for 24 years. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
 A street named for the godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown, is near the store. Go-go music originated in D.C. and activists said attempts to silence a store that has played it for the last 24 years is erasure of D.C.'s history and culture. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

The owner of the store, Donald Campbell, said orders to stop playing the locally beloved music that originated in D.C. came after a resident in a neighboring luxury apartment building threatened to sue T-Mobile, which owns Metro PCS, over the noise.

“[The neighbor] went through the city and the city said we weren’t in violation, so I guess they took it to corporate,” Campbell told WTOP.

T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, said in a tweet on Wednesday that the music should not stop and that T-Mobile will work with neighbors to compromise on volume.

Campbell turned the go-go back on at noon Wednesday.

“John, the CEO of T-Mobile, agreed that the music is part of our culture and we’re very appreciative of that,” Campbell said.

Some drivers passing by the store honked to acknowledge the return of the music, people danced outside the store and a local painter even started painting the scene.

“We want to keep the culture going, we want to keep the bands going and we want to keep the music relevant as we’re trying to do,” Campbell said.

The music played louder than it normally would Wednesday so passersby could celebrate its return but in the future, the volume will be a little lower.

“We’re definitely going to be respectful of the community and we hope that we can all work together,” Campbell said.

A block party is scheduled outside the store Saturday, April 13, from 4 p.m. to closing. Everyone is invited, Campbell said.

When the owner of Shaw’s Metro PCS said the order to stop the music was over a noise complaint, D.C. residents held a protest concert on Tuesday. Local musicians played go-go, fans danced and the hashtag #DontMuteDC went viral.

Wale, an artist who is a D.C. native, was at the concert and spoke to reporters about the cultural importance of go-go.

More than 60,000 people signed a petition asking T-Mobile to bring back the music.

D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau, who represents the area, also sent a letter to T-Mobile, asking them not to silence the music and emphasizing its important local roots.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Nadeau said the issue is about more than music, but is about affordable housing and the culture of D.C. natives.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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