By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
With businesses shutting down and people from the United States and countries around the world quarantining due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, people of all backgrounds are spreading light, love and art through social media, as viewers watch from their confines of their homes. From his living room, legendary disc-jockey Derrick “D-Nice” Jones made history, by throwing the world’s biggest dance party.
Over the weekend, more than 150,000 viewers were tuning in at the same time to watch DJ D-Nice’s Instagram Live, where he played tons of throwback hits and mixes from, what seemed like, a bottomless crate of classic records.
The world first took notice of D-Nice’s epic celebration when he hosted an extremely successful nine-hour social distancing dance party on March 18 called “Homeschoolin.’” After that popular set, the D.J. called the parties “Homeschool,” and as commonly said in the Black community, “everybody and their mama,” attended the online merriment.
“I can’t believe that I started the [Homeschool] social distancing party just four days ago and it’s become a place for us to virtually dance together and send positive vibrations to each of you,” D- Nice wrote on his Instagram, before going on to thank the long list of artists who watched some of the party. The who’s who list of viewers throughout his parties would take up the word count of this story, but some include: Michelle Obama, Oprah, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Biden, Ellen Degeneres, John Legend, Diddy, Will Smith and Gabrielle Union.
Imagine how many people will be able to tell their grandchildren they rocked out all night with a former first lady, former Vice President and scores of other celebrities- and it’ll be true.
Throughout the weekend quarantined people could jam from their jammies as D-Nice spun for hours, and broke his original record of nine hours after going about 10 hours, and the number of viewers rose to more than 100,000 views on Saturday and 150,000 viewers watching at one time on Sunday evening.
As millions of people live in fear during this pandemic, D-Nice’s sets, also called #ClubQuarantine, were opportunities to see a legendary DJ at work, party with celebrities, spread positivity and have fun during this trying time.
“As a person with multiple sclerosis who uses a walker and a scooter for mobility, it was amazing to be in such an awesome event and to be able to “dance” to my heart’s content, without the curious or empathic looks I received at previous D-Nice parties,” said clinical social worker Chandricka Mose in an op-ed submitted to the AFRO. “This rapper, DJ and producer generously offered the huge gift of music which subsequently brought unity, light and levity during these uncertain times. Thank you so much D-Nice!”
The day prior to “Homeschool” hitting 100,000 viewers at once, social media strategist, Eugene Brown, said he spoke to the DJ applauding him on the idea and chatting about the possibilities of what the social distancing party could become. He never knew that the next day the party would get to 100,000 viewers at once.
“As a [little] brother it was dope to see the big homie black out like that, but as a social media strategist it was crazy to see someone use their human capital to convene something of that magnitude on a digital platform,” Brown wrote on Instagram. “Today I watched the bro hit 100 [thousand]. Not 100 [thousand] views but 100 [thousand] people grooving to the same vibe at the indoor arena holds 55,000 people,” he continued.
“In a time where we are asked to be ‘socially distant,’ it’s crucial to have people like D-Nice bringing us all together FOR FREE,” Brown told the AFRO in an exclusive message.
D.C.’s DJ K-Meta also shared why D-Nice’s party is significant during this crucial time of social distancing- particularly as it relates to the art of disc-jockeying.
“I think it’s important because it’s showing everyone the magic of music and the art of DJing- bringing people together and taking their mind away from the world.”
In a sentimental post, DJ D-Nice reflected on the enormity of his social distancing parties.
“I had a tearful moment this morning after realizing that we all came together as a global community and danced while I played music in my living room,” D-Nice wrote on Instagram. “It was beautiful to experience and I’m truly humbled by the amount of love I’ve received. Thank you to everyone that supported me on this journey. Let’s continue to uplift each other as we get [through] this dark time.”
The DJ’s event dance party was so impactful that he teamed up with former FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote,” campaign. D-Nice will play a set as volunteers across the United States will text eligible voters to help them register to vote.