FEATURED EDITORIAL: The Media Prince Sits Down with Justin Johnson (Yaddiya)
Just some weeks ago, thousands of DC and MD natives and residents rallied together to fight against gentrification happening in their hometown. Many showed up in efforts of making sure the DC sound (Go-Go) continues to flourish in our streets as it has been visible of its decrease since massive gentrification has hit the nation's capital.
Justin Johnson organized a Go-Go concert on April 9th in response to the complaints that led to the Go-Go band on the corner of 7th and Florida Avenue in Northwest, having to stop playing music, something the neighborhood and culture had grown to love. Recording Artist Wale and other musicians, attended to show support for the issue.
But its Justin's voice that I wanted to hear from and get into the art of what makes this brother so special.
TMP: Take us back when did you first
experience the love for the DC Culture?
JJ: Started feeling a connection and fell in love with the culture in 2005, which is the year I started throwing GoGo events .
TMP: #DontMuteDC has become a national news headline, with this movement how were you able to go about creating it?
JJ: I didn’t create the hashtag, I organized the rally. I organized the rally overnight, it was only possible because Ive has personal relationships (10+ years) with the bands and sound companies. So it was only a matter of making a few phone calls, the rest was history. Also timing is everything.
TMP: The numbers were overwhelming and the support skyrocketed, how does it feel to know you affected change?
JJ: It feels great to know I affected change. Especially seeing that we got the attention of T-Mobile ceo John Legere, who sent out a tweet the next day saying that he was on our side. T-Mobile was the company who threatened to shut the store down, if they didn’t stop the music. People were able to see that their contribution made a difference and I think that motivates the community to get more politically active, which will be monumental.
TMP: Now activism is not something new for you, what was the first moment where you took a stand and what was it for?
JJ: The first time I took a stand was last summer (2018) to speak out against a bill DC council is looking to pass called “The Amplified Noise Amendment. That bill will basically take away the musicians right to amplify their music, which is also a big part of DC Culture. Not to mention, that is how GoGo music was started. After that I protested Trumps relations with Russia and corruption in politics for 170 days straight in front of The White House. Using the same format to attract and inform, musical performance. And that brings here to this.
TMP: With Activism comes backlash, close minded thinkers and nay-sayers, how do you keep yourself focused on the goal and not get flushed into the negative gaps?
JJ: I look it as a horse race, I keep my head straight and Focus on the finish line. I also always remind myself that everyone is not going to like you or what you do. So In my mind if I don’t get backlash, that means I’m not doing something right.
TMP: Though, a success with #DontMuteDC, how do we keep the movement going in this new era of microwave media, which I say is thanks to social media?
JJ: I plan to keep the movement going by continuously throwing events for the community and using social media to educate and inform.
TMP: What types of movements inspire you?
JJ: Social Justice movements are most intriguing to me. Specifically because of this social media era we live in. We get to witness more commentary and get a deeper understanding of the storyline.
TMP: What keeps you going?
JJ: The feeling of accomplishment and still feel like I’m chasing it.
TMP: What are learning about yourself and what new strengths have you gained in your walk of activism?
JJ: I Am learning that I have a unique ability to understand and relate to different communities and social circles, which Is how I plan to bridge the gap.
TMP: Does it ever become overwhelming?
JJ: I think it can be overwhelming to some, though I know that my mindset is not typical. Work is actually fun to me, to me there is no better feeling than success and everything that comes with it. Success meaning you’re reaching your goals, making a difference and inspiring that next wave.
TMP: What would be you first step of advice for someone looking for change and to possibly be the change?
JJ: I’d say don’t look for change, be a part of creating it. Taking action speaks louder than any word ever could, and everyone is capable. Don’t think about it too much, I was always told “if you study long, you study wrong.”
TMP: What is next for you?
JJ: Working on a documentary on how music is the glue to bringing people together, even in the political world. As we say Tuesday. Dropping music in May..... project name: Full Itinerary “From the Trap to the Cap.” Hosting ASAP Ant show next Friday 4/19 & More GoGo’s (I am also founder of @longlivegogodc)
TMP: Where can you be found? FB? Twitter? IG? Youtube?
TMP: Before we end this, what is one motto you live by?
JJ: “As above, so below”