The story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the indigenous influence.
Nyjia July’s first documentary Just Us examines the epidemic of generational imprisonment and was screened across the country. She has previously worked on the PBS documentary Through a Lens Darkly, the Emmy-nominated Brick City, and the Emmy-winning Freedom Riders.
She became a Corporation for Public Broadcast diversity fellow and a digital media producer with the Center for Asian American Media, where she created original content and helped program their international film festival. She has also worked closely with filmmaker Marc Levin and the National Black Programming Consortium.
Listen to My Heartbeat explores the cultural currency of Washington, D.C.’s regional music called Go-Go, a blend of funk, rhythm and blues, and early hip-hop, matched with lo-fi sounds. Think folk music but with drums, congas and harder lyrics. The film highlights the remaining relevance of Go-Go amid social, economic, and racial transition through the stories of the creators of Go-Go, the youth who are innovating it, the neighborhoods that incubated it, and the politics of poverty and violence that influenced its sound. Beyond a "rock doc," the film highlights the fact that much of the cities indigenous culture is becoming extinct due to gentrification. When the population that cultivated this culture finds themselves shipped out of the city, will the music survive?