Arts Roundup: Moechella Tragedy – WCP

What was supposed to be a celebratory three-day weekend in D.C. to celebrate Juneteenth concluded under a shadow of gloom. As Moechella, Sunday’s free community concert at 14th and U streets NW, was winding down, gunshots rang out and 15-year-old Chase Poole was killed. Three adults, including one Metropolitan Police Department officer, were also shot and received non-life-threatening injuries. 

Though D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee has admonished the event for being “unpermitted,” Moechella events have been happening in the city since 2019. Created by local rapper and activist Justin “Yaddiya” Johnson, Moechella is known as a peaceful demonstration against gentrification and a celebration of Black culture in D.C. Past events have occurred without incident. According to DCist, Contee is considering punitive action against organizers for the violence that broke out, even though unpermitted events, such as protests, are regular occurrences in the city. Law enforcement agencies deploy officers to assist with such events and Moechella was no different: At least 100 officers were at 14th and U NW for the event. 

Long Live GoGo, the artistic advocacy group that puts on Moechella, posted a response on Instagram, thanking the supporters and condemning violence of any kind: “Moechella is a symbol of black culture in dc and is built on the foundation of peace.”

Moechella founder Yaddiya; photo by Darrow Montgomery Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Countdown to the Return: Drop your glass bottles and head north because Fort Reno concerts are coming back! The still unannounced opening show is scheduled for July 18. The folks behind the summer concert series say they were flooded with submissions from bands looking to play. As of now, there will be eight shows for the 2022 season. Follow the website for lineup announcements.

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