Go-go has admitted defeat. Challenger Vincent Gray has proved more powerful than Chocolate City’s homegrown musical genre. Artist Chi Ali is part of a group of go-go musicians that supported Mayor Adrian Fenty for re-election under the banner “Go-Go 4 Fenty.” By phone, Ali says he’s disappointed about the election’s results, but not sour. “Vince Gray played a good game of chess,” Ali says. “He gets to utter those words no one wants to hear: Checkmate.”
After supporting Fenty in the Democratic primary, though, Ali and his friends could be in trouble. D.C. has been pushing the music out of its limits, even under a mayor that claims to be a fan. Ali figures things might get even more dire under Gray, whose own musical tastes tend toward stuff you can hand dance to. “We’ll have to see if there’s any repercussions from us supporting Fenty,” Ali says. “I hope there won’t be. We don’t know. This was an intense mayoral race.”
Regardless of the cards they’ll be dealt, something that could be loosely termed a go-go rights movement could be underway. Ali says he talked with go-go celebrity Anwan “Big G” Glover on election night, and the two solidified plans to start a political group called “Go-Go United.” “We’re going to push politically. There’s no need for us to stop now,” Ali says. Ali believes the organization will help politicians see that instead of fearing the music, they should use it as a tool. In the meantime, he’ll be showing them what a formidable power the drum-stitched sound can be: One of the organization’s first moves will be suing clubs that discriminate against the musical form.
“It’s a good look…” says Ali.