Coming Thru the Door of No Return

BACK2Africa is documentary film that follows the Washington, DC based Go-Go Band – The Backyard Band – on a journey from Washington, DC to Ghana, West Africa to connect with their ancestral roots through music. Go-Go music mirrors the characteristics of most of the traditional and contemporary music in Ghana and throughout West Africa with a heavy percussive nature and emphasis on live audience call and response. It’s no coincidence that Washington, DC and Ghana, West Africa are sister cities.

Go-Go is an indigenous music native to DC that originated in the 60’s and 70’s. Often considered a subgenre of funk and made famous by the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, Go-Go music is characterized and underscored by its heavy percussive nature and drive; and its emphasis on live audience call and response. Go-Go can be viewed as blend of funk, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and new age swing. To most native Washingtonians and Go-Go lovers, it’s just Go-Go, the heartbeat of the city. Its energy is undeniable and pervasive. Its African roots are evident, overarching and foundational in the music and spirit it carries. 

During the journey, band members who took the DNA test had their ancestry revealed, identifying both the modern day country and ethnicity of African ancestry to which their DNA corresponds. Of the three concerts, the most significant concert was held at Cape Coast Castle Dungeon. Cape Coast Castle Dungeon is one of the most prominent slave trading forts in tact remaining in West Africa. Cape Coast maintains an infamous Door of No Return where it’s stated that once the enslaved Africans exited this doorway to enter the slave ships, they were doomed to never return to their homeland.

This concert and visit is the foundation of the tour and documentary film as it represents a return home by descendants of Africa as powerful symbols of resilience and creativity. BACK2Africa thru the door of no return on a mission to rewrite our history and chart a new course for the future through the power of music - Go-Go!


 Executive Producer: The Adinkra Group

Producer: Ghana Tourism Authority

Co-Producer: The Backyard Band

Director: J. Kevin Swain