Support Cafe De Duivel

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Those staying in touch with Patta have probably come across the name "De Duivel" on multiple occasions. They hosted our ASICS release afterparties and our Stüssy J Dilla Tribute evening, among many other events. But what kind of place is it really?

On the surface, De Duivel is what locals would call a "brown cafe": A casual, neighborhood gathering spot featuring dark wood interiors and people looking for a drink and friendly conversation. However, once you entered the place, you would be greeted by the kind bar personnel and the great sounds of Hip Hop, Funk and Soul music blasting from the speakers, as opposed to the traditional Dutch folk songs usually played in similar establishments. Instead of typical Dutch artwork on the wall, you would find great photography and graffiti canvases by local legends.

What's more, most of the time it would be a DJ playing those tunes, as opposed to a CD changer or more recently, an MP3 player. Many local DJ's such as Edson, Wix and myself got our first regular gigs there, honing our DJ chops in front of a live crowd. Though a lot has changed since 1992, it is still not easy to find a place in Amsterdam where one can just kick back with a good drink, listen to some quality music, and meet cool, creative people from all creeds, colors and walks of life. Every. Single. Night. It became a community, it's what made the place so special when it was founded by Daniel Eeuwens nearly 20 years ago...
And it still should be.

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Why did I write in past tense, you might ask…
Last December, right before our ASICS afterparty, a very unfortunate event took place at the cafe: A shooting incident forced the place to shut down on December 23, putting its fate in the hands of the mayor and the police. As things stand now, it is looking very tough for Cafe De Duivel to open its doors again in the near future...

Be it at a club, bar or even in the street, incidents happen everywhere, especially when there is alcohol involved. Sad to say, but that is an aspect of nightlife as well. What happened was wrong, and it is only right for all parties to sit down for very serious dialog and discuss drastic measures regarding security and things of that nature. Similar incidents should be prevented at all times, by any means necessary, but it is not acceptable for the, dare I say, prejudiced authorities to simply pin this on "gangster rap" and "specific audience" to convince municipality to shut its doors for good. Are you serious?

Now I am not at all surprised that they criticize and judge intently based on the negative ideals associated with the genre of Hip Hop music, but it sure is disappointing that they fail to recognize its positive contributions as well and choose to communicate this issue across musical preference, race, gender, geography and cultures. Especially coming from people who live, work and raise their children in this liberal city supposedly known for its open-mindedness and flexibility. Are you serious?

There are artists that perpetuate positive messages, sexual messages, emotional messages, comedic messages, so on and so forth. It is just another form of expression, and it is too easy to divide Hip Hop into camps, so I won't even go there. Just know that "gangster rap" is only one flavor of Hip Hop's very extensive assortment, ask former minister of justice Piet Hein Donner who recorded a rap song in 2006. Yes, I'm serious.

Negativity does not just come from Hip Hop, it comes from mainstream media and society as well. If you agree that society in general and a lack of respect for people is what causes problems, you may not need convincing that Hip Hop has created a culture that also encourages unity and intellectual thoughts. A unique place like Cafe De Duivel shows that it is a great unifier of diverse populations, it mends ethnic relations and unifies individuals across a rich spectrum through collective enjoyment. If you have ever visited De Duivel sometime in its 20 years of existence, you will most likely concur...

Please show your (written) support by sending an email to Daniel [email protected]
For more information please visit the Cafe de Duivel Facebook page

2 thoughts on “Support Cafe De Duivel”

  • [...] February 10th, 2012 in Dagboek, tumblr, Cafe De Duivel, Patta, tumblr Support Cafe De Duivel: “Those staying in touch with Patta have probably come across the name “De Duivel” on [...]

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  • [...] Although Cafe de Duivel was well-known and loved by its patrons, the ‘not-so-great image’ that had followed hip-hop since the beginning was brought to the forefront in December of 2011 after a shootout outside the bar in which two people were wounded. After the incident, the Duivel was forced to shut-down by the city mayor, and a months-long fight ensued between the owner of Cafe de Duivel, Daniel Eeuwens, and the city police. Following its forced closure, hundreds of hip-hop fans and Duivel regulars protested the decision, which they felt was unjust because the shooting was a personal conflict that had nothing to do with the Duivel as an establishment. In fact, the decision to shut the bar down seemed outright racist to many when the police accused the Duivel of playing gangsta rap, which ‘attracts a certain crowd’. Through our own observations, it became clear quickly that the racial make-up of the crowd at The Duivel consisted largely of racial-minorities. One night, we observed 16 Black people, and 6 Caucasians. To members of the community at Cafe de Duivel, this reaction from the police and the city demonstrated the false negative connotations around both hip-hop as a genre, and the race of the people listening to it. As Amsterdam hip-hop blogger Masta Lee wrote on his page: ‘Negativity does not just come from Hip-hop, it comes from mainstream media and society as well. If you agree that society in general and a lack of respect for people is what causes problems, you may not need convincing that Hip-hop has created a culture that also encourages unity and intellectual thoughts. A unique place like Cafe De Duivel shows that it is a great unifier of diverse populations, it mends ethnic relations and unifies individuals across a rich spectrum through collective enjoyment. If you have ever visited De Duivel sometime in its 20 years of existence, you will most likely concur…’ (Patta blog) [...]

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