Donuts Are Forever 5 @ Santos Party House – 2.5.11

It’s a cold Saturday night in February, and you’re looking for something to do. How about a dance party playing nothing but J Dilla, packed from wall to wall with beautiful people from all walks of life? Or a spot where donuts and yummy treats flow freely? Would you believe me if I told you all this existed within one event? That event would be Donuts Are Forever.

For its fifth year, DAF took over Santos Party House in Manhattan, the first time it’s been held outside of Brooklyn. It amazes me how this event manages to grow year after year, but then again, it shouldn’t. I’ve been a loyal attendee ever since my uncle took me to DAF2 in 2008 at Southpaw. That night, I met people like Fly Lady Di, Brokn.Englsh and DJ Evil Dee – people who I have been honored to develop relationships with since then. Donuts Are Forever is pure in intentions; it’s not about being fancy, it’s not about popping bottles and VIP. Instead, folks don their J Dilla tees, buttons and dancing shoes. It’s about paying tribute to a talented producer gone too soon. DAF gives back by donating proceeds to the J Dilla Foundation, which helps fund inner-city music programs and provides scholarships to students attending schools with progressive music curricula.

Last year, J Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, attended the tribute party, and DAF4 was definitely one of my favorite events last year. This year, J Dilla’s brother Illa J blessed us with his presence, a testament to the reputation of this event.

Upstairs, some of the country’s finest DJ’s, including Rich Medina, DJ Spinna and  OP!, spun Dilla jams all night to a crowd packed in like sardines. They came from around the corner and down the block or as far as Connecticut, Philly, Maryland and beyond, I’m sure. I know a crew of guys who come down religiously every year, and it’s always great to reconnect with them, as well as friends and acquaintances I may not have seen in a while. So you see, DAF is one big family reunion of sorts…

Downstairs was a whole other type of vibe… Couples danced the night away courtesy of sounds by DJ Chela, Sam Champ and more… it was a beautiful sight, one I’ve never really experienced at previous DAF’s.

If you wanted a break from dancing or head-nodding, you had the option of getting your photo taken by bkbooth!  or perusing the merch table where you could purchase a J Dilla tee:

And Donuts Are Forever wouldn’t be official without DONUTS! Real talk, I look forward to DAF so I can stuff my face with the donuts scattered about the venue. Especially the chocolate ones… This year we got an extra special treat: cakes by Alma Geddy-Romero made to look like donuts. I didn’t get to try them all, but the red velvet? CRACK…

So there you have it… many thanks to Dee Phunk and Rare Form for always looking out for me and allowing me to cover Donuts Are Forever year after year. I leave you with my favorite J Dilla song, in hopes that next year I will be fortunate enough to partake again.

Bonus: Check out this great piece from Justin Hunte of Brooklyn Bodega about DAF5, where he interviewed several people (including myself) about their thoughts on J Dilla and Donuts Are Forever.


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