Nov 16, 2023 - News

D.C.'s new Go-Go Museum breaks ground in Anacostia

A group of people, including Spike Lee, dig shovels into planters full of soil.

Ron Moten, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Spike Lee, and others were at the ceremonial groundbreaking. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

D.C. broke ground Wednesday on a new museum in Anacostia celebrating all things go-go.

Why it matters: The venue will preserve the official music of D.C. and honor the city's Black community.

Driving the news: The years-long project — spearheaded by Ron Moten, a longtime go-go promoter and leader of the Don't Mute DC movement — is expected to open in the spring.

  • A mobile museum-on-wheels will blast the funk around the city until the official Go-Go Museum opens.
A giant bus that says "Go-Go Swing" on the side, parked on a street in D.C.
The go-go mobile! Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Details: Some of the exhibits are still in the planning stage, but so far the venue is expected to chart go-go's birth and influence.

  • Filmmaker Spike Lee was on hand at yesterday's ceremony and will be featured in the museum. His 1988 film "School Daze" memorably featured E.U.'s "Da Butt," rocketing go-go into the national sphere.
  • A dining component will also chart the history of Black cooking, Moten said, from African and Caribbean influences to D.C.'s mumbo sauce.

What they're saying: "Go-go music rescued hometown D.C. from the image of a government town that couldn't keep a beat," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said at the ceremony.

  • "This is a town with dancing in its DNA."

Catch up fast: Moten's Check It Enterprises, a retail shop and community hub for disadvantaged youth on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, received $2 million from the city in 2020 to stay at the site that will now become the museum.


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