I am dismayed that the Washington City Paper would print the recent column by Loose Lips in which he bashes Diversite (7/16). Its tendency toward exaggerations and hyperbole make it read like an article in a tabloid. Unfortunately, it reveals the most irresponsible journalism, reporting hearsay as truth in what I can only imagine is a malicious attempt to destroy a reputable business because of personal biases and fears.
For close to four years now I have been a patron of Diversite. For three years, while working in the 14th Street corridor, I ate lunch and dinner there on several occasions and brought friends by after seeing shows at Woolly Mammoth and the Studio Theatre. I have also attended private parties and benefits, and held staff holiday parties there. More recently, I have enjoyed the poetry-jazz mix of Groove Gumbo on Tuesday nights and the hot salsa music late on Saturdays.
Because I worked in the neighborhood, my interaction with Diversite was a little broader than strict patronage. Diversite hosted community meetings that included both small businesses and residents from Church and Q Streets. The owner continues to work cooperatively with the theaters in the area and is supportive of efforts that would make the neighborhood more hospitable to live and do business in. In a community where many residents are biased against nightclubs, the owner has bent over backward to monitor noise levels and increase staff to assist in reducing the number of people on the streets.
In all of my interactions with Diversite, never have I seen any gang activity—unless of course by a gang you mean “10 or more people of color gathered together in close environs.” Violence, the threat of violence, and unruliness have been noticeably absent. From my experiences, I contend that comparisons to the Ibex Club and allegations of gang activity are at best spurious and libelous. At the minimum, Loose Lips needs to make a public apology for his attack. Beyond that, I encourage the City Paper to employ some true journalistic skills to uncover the real story behind the Diversite bashing. Chances are they will reveal some steep issues of class, race, politics, and privilege.
Takoma Park, Md.
via the Internet