DJ D-Nice done did it.
And he continues to do it.
Every night since last Tuesday, the in-demand deejay and hip-hop veteran has mastered the art of social distancing and social media with an infectious music party, aptly titled “Homeschool: Club Quarantine,” via Instagram Live.
For the Saturday session, streamed from his high-rise apartment in downtown Los Angeles, more than 100,000 people tuned in to listen from all around the world.
During his nine-hour-plus set, boldfaced names including Barack Hussein Obama, Michelle Obama, Quincy Jones, Halle Berry, Common, Janet Jackson, Tiffany Haddish, Patti LaBelle, Reverend Al Sharpton, Steph Curry, Naomi Campbell, Missy Elliott, Joe Biden, Bethann Hardison, Rihanna, Jermaine Dupri, John Legend, Bernie Sanders, Kardinal Official, Kimberly Nichole, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Lee Daniels, LL Cool J, Sophia Chang, Mark Zuckerberg, June Ambrose, Lennox Lewis, Gabrielle Union, Teddy Riley, Khloe Kardashian, Heather Hunter, Bevy Smith and Nile Rodgers made their presence known to the former Boogie Down Productions rapper/producer as he rocked the wheels of steel nonstop and shouted them out.
Even the Queen of All Media Oprah Winfrey tuned in, giving him a ringing endorsement
“Best party of 1 and 100k I ever been to!” she wrote on Twitter.
Award-winning sports journalist Jemelle Hill suggested someone nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize for doing “the Lord’s work.”
“Homeschool was a simple idea that was just a way to take my mind off of Coronavirus and the quarantine,” D-Nice, whose real name is Derrick Jones, told The Root on Sunday. “As someone in the nightlife and lifestyle events industry, the cancellations have made a major impact not only on finances but on people’s spirit as a whole. What I have always known is that music is powerful and has the ability to bring people together, so this was an opportunity for me to marry my passion and purpose together to help lift spirits.”
His vast music collection represented the best of the best of black excellence, spanning at least four decades and including classics by Ashford & Simpson, Chaka Khan, Prince, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and hip-hop fare by Ludacris, Heavy D, Big Daddy Kane, Notorious B.I.G., Too Short and The Ying Yang Twins.
There were some rare nuggets and obscure gems on D-Nice’s eclectic soundtrack, including music by Afrobeat trailblazer Fela, house music classics by Patrice Rushen and Evelyn “Champagne” King and new dancehall music by Davido.
The mix-master even played music by country music legend Kenny Rogers, whose death at age 81 was announced the night before.
Before midnight, as emoji love went into overdrive, D-Nice’s massive dance party was the #1 trending topic on Twitter.
He didn’t miss a beat (pun intended)—never playing the same song twice while he donned an assortment of wide-brim hats and drank libations.
How did he do it?
“It’s broadcasted live and direct from my kitchen counter,” he explained, laughing. “I take out my signature hats and drinks, set up my console, laptop, and set the phone near the speaker to get started.”
“Other than that, I prepare for it by trying my best to get some rest but it’s kind of hard to do that when I get in a zone and spin for nine straight hours,” D-Nice explained.
There was no social media team employed. It was simply a man with great music he wanted to share with the world.
The almost 50-year-old father of two is relishing in a 30-plus-year career that has proven to get greater later.
His journey in the music industry has seen him traverse from a conscious rapper (1989’s legendary “Self Destruction”) to becoming a music company executive (credited with discovering Kid Rock and landing him a deal at Jive Records) and later thriving as a professional photographer.
For the past decade, D-Nice has made his bones as a celebrity deejay of posh parties and exclusive corporate events for clients such as BET, HBO, Heineken and Essence.
For the better part of the last week, the world has become his stage due to the new normal humans are adapting to, and the new technology that allows it.
“I have been blessed to have a 30-year career in the entertainment industry,” he shared.
As far as his staying power, he attributes his longevity to “being flexible and open to reinvention.”
“I believe it is important to be led by authenticity and passion because those characteristics will help you be your best self in work,” he added. “So, whether I am deejaying or taking photos of my subjects, I approach them both with equal love.”
As far as Homeschool, D-Nice said he’s going to continue to do his part to “flatten the curve” of the deadly pandemic also known as COVID-19.
During the first hour of Sunday’s sets, he reached the 150,000 mark.
“We are in this together. We are one. Therefore, I will do my part by helping people stay inside and engaged through Homeschool,” he concluded.