Clash over outdoor Go-Go music shows effects of gentrification in DC

For nearly 25 years the Metro PCS store on the corner of Florida Avenue and 7th Street Northwest in Shaw has played Go-Go music from a speaker outside the business, but the shop has been muted, reportedly by a complaint and threat to sue from a neighbor in a nearby luxury apartment.

The store's owner, Donald Campbell, told FOX 5 he was asked two weeks ago by T-Mobile, which owns Metro PCS, to bring the speaker inside the store. Campbell says he was told a neighbor in a nearby luxury apartment who complained about the noise threatened the cell phone company with a lawsuit.

D.C. Police say they don't have any recent record of noise complaints coming from the store. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has just three since 2010, but each was investigated and it determined the volume did not violate the city's noise ordinance, so no action was taken.

Dozens attended a protest aimed at bringing the outdoor music back Monday night.

An online petition started by community activist Ronald Moten has garnered more than 20,000 signatures in support of the Go-Go music.

"We have to take a stand. Our culture is what makes this city vibrant. A lot of people move here for this culture and we can't let a few people, because this is a few people, destroy what makes DC great," said Moten.

Yet, some neighbors take issue with the volume level.

"It's just too loud. I don't mind the music. Go-Go is part of the D.C. culture. What I do mind is the loudness and it really hurt my ears to walk by," said Benjamin Kozlowski, who lives nearby.

Activists say muting the Metro PCS is a negative side-effect of rapid gentrification.

"We love people coming to the city, but you gotta respect the neighborhood that you move to," said Robert White Jr., at-large DC Councilmember.

Campbell says he is still negotiating with T-Mobile and hopes to eventually bring the music back.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau supports the store's ability to play the music and wrote to T-Mobile asking for the company to change its mind.

T-Mobile has not responded to a request for comment.