/  05.15.2022

Mixing go-go music with social activism has proved to be a successful formula for Moechella. 

Justin Johnson, a.k.a. Yaddiya, used his Moechella platform to steer the #DontMuteDC movement in 2019. And through a series of peaceful protests, held in the heart of the District, Moechella helped combat gentrifiers who wanted to turn down the sounds. In 2020, Moechella served as the catalyst to go-go becoming the official music of D.C. 

“As I got in the advocacy space it only made sense that go-go be the soundtrack,” Johnson told REVOLT. “It’s speaking the people’s language.” 

The event, which started as a demonstration on 14th and U St. in April of 2019, is celebrating its three-year anniversary with an activation in Los Angeles and a show in D.C

The L.A. Moechella will be held on Sunday (May 15) in Leimart Park at the African Market Place & Drum Circle. There will be performances by Johnson, go-go band T.O.B., Marlee xx The Mistress, and special guests. It’s the second year Moechella has been held in L.A. 

The three-year celebration will also include social commentary regarding D.C. statehood and reparations to go along with the soul-stirring percussion sounds.

“We’re going to bring the authenticity,” Johnson said. “We’re going to talk about the new reparations task force that they formed in California and the bill that established a commission to study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans.”

Johnson said he feels blessed to be here three years later. “My ascension has been purely organic and step-by-step,” he said. “Moechella, I feel, was the residual of a decade worth of blood sweat and tears… My love for go-go is what sparked it all. I always seem to come back to go-go.”

The Moechella creator understands that L.A. natives may not understand the history of go-go or what it means to D.C., but he hopes they will be able to enjoy it regardless. He’s enlisted a band (T.O.B.) that he said will play the genre “light enough” for all people to enjoy it. 

“Lil Chris (T.O.B.’s frontman) is super talented and he has great range and his voice is the voice of the new generation of D.C.,” Johnson explained. T.O.B. as a band, they’re like the Jackson 5 of go-go. I like using them especially when we’re out of town. They have a wide range of music. They play go-go in a non-threatening way. They play fun go-go.”

The Moechella afterparty will be held at The Virgil on Santa Monica Blvd. Saba Jenga, an artist and owner of BPM worldwide — a company that helps indie artists monetize their music, served as a liaison for Johnson on the West Coast. 

The DMV native said it’s a full-circle moment for Moechella to be in L.A.

“Go-go is a global sound a lot of people can easily connect to,” she told REVOLT. “Showing it to people for the first time, people outside of the culture, you want to represent it well and you want to give it dignity and integrity.”

After the L.A. events, Moechella will return home to the nation’s capital for a show at the historic Howard Theatre on May 21. Johnson knows that some people will be upset that they’ll have to pay to attend that show, but he believes it was the natural progression of the movement. 

Gubernatorial candidates Red Grant and Robert White are slated to speak at the D.C. celebration and there will be performances by go-go bands T.O.B. and New Impressionz. Johnson said that he also plans to organize an outdoor Moechella event on Juneteenth and several other Moechella-themed activations throughout the summer.

Check out flyers for both events below:

 

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