A hip-hop national monument is in danger of going out of business as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dilla’s Delights, the Detroit donut shop named for the late producer J Dilla and owned by J’s uncle Herman Hayes, has closed its doors. On Sunday, during a heartfelt Instagram Live session, Hayes announced that the closure is permanent and official, although he is still looking for a new location to keep the business alive.
“It’s official — the donut shop is closed in that location,” he admitted. “We don’t quite know which direction we’re gonna go in and where we’re gonna be, but we’re working on some things. That location at 242 John R Road is no longer open and we will not open back up at 242 John R Road and we are looking for a home. We’re homeless — we’re looking for a home and the possibilities are out there, let’s put it that way. We may want to open up somewhere else. I don’t know. We gotta figure it out.”
However, he remained optimistic. “We’re definitely gonna keep donuts alive, Dilla’s legacy alive,” he assured his followers. “We’re gonna come back bigger, better, and just be creative.”
Dilla’s Delights was founded in 2016, inspired by the iconic Detroit producer and his favorite snack, for which he named 2006 second studio album, Donuts. After Dilla passed away — just three days after the release of his album — Hayes began planning to open the store, overcoming a decade of funding issues to finally open in the Ashley building, where Dilla once resided. The store was a focal point for the hip-hop community, where Rolling Stone noted the opening day was packed with well-wishers and fans.
However, the ongoing COVID crisis forced the shop to close in March of 2020. While Hayes was able to continue selling snacks with pop-up opportunities around the city and merch inspired by the work of J Dilla, it wasn’t enough to renew the lease with the Ashley location.
Watch the hour-long live stream detailing the foundation of Dilla’s Delights and Uncle Herm’s fight to keep Dilla’s memory alive above.