Research #4: Is D.C. the same without Go-Go?

Keeping Go-Go Going in a Gentrifying D.C. is a documentary produced by The Atlantic that highlights the culture of D.C and the shift in that very culture while the city is undergoing gentrification. The video essentially argues that a sign or signal of gentrification is that go-go bands in the city have struggled to maintain prominence.

Backyard Band performing at the Howard Theater

I trust this documentary by the Atlantic because the publication has a reputation of going deep into overshadowed issues and is known for their culture commentary. Although the publication is not based in D.C., the video interviews and profiles those in D.C.’s go-go scene who are widely known and of the utmost important.

This piece of media is essential in analyzing the changing culture in D.C, that is a result of gentrification. The lead rapper of a D.C go-go group; Anwan “Big G” Glover, tells us that the new demographic of people coming to the city, attracted to more luxurious housing and commercialized neighborhoods, are not “go-go friendly.” It connects how culture shifts in the city while at the same time as the city’s socio-economic status changes.

The video tells us that the genre has been historically enjoyed by Black residents of the D.C., which was also known as Chocolate City for its high population of these Black residents. From the video I’ve gathered that many go-go artists in the area think there are less Black people enjoying and celebrating the genre. From my previous research, I am lead to believe this is happening as a result of gentrification. There are now less black businesses and residents have been displaced.

Big G also expresses that many clubs and venues will not book go-go artists because it will be harder for that establishment to receive an occupancy or liquor license. Overall, the video expresses go-go artists’ fears and hopes for the genre in the changing city. The video looks into one of the interesting phenomenons about communities and demographic shifts; it asks us how can people shun the culture they were seeking when they moved to an urban community?

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