Keeping Go-Go Going in a Gentrifying D.C.

For almost 40 years, go-go has musically defined the nation’s capital. The beat has provided a proud cultural and musical tradition attracting generations of fans. But in recent years, gentrification has threatened the musical genre’s hold over the city. “The state of D.C. is not D.C. anymore, it’s not Chocolate City,” says Anwan “Big G” Glover of Backyard Band.

Since 1990, Backyard Band, led by frontman Glover, has dutifully kept the music alive. Glover, whose 6’6” frame and raspy leading voice make him something of local celebrity, is recognized nationally for his acting role as Slim Charles in HBO’s The Wire. “Our music means everything to us,” says Glover. “And it’s hard to give that up.” In this short documentary, Glover and the Backyard Band introduce the sounds of go-go and explain the existential threats facing the music.