Originally slated for Sept. 2, one of the most anticipated dates in the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival series was rescheduled for this past Saturday, Sept. 19. When walking into the Lena Horne Bandshell at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and seeing the sea of smiling faces real (of the maskless variety) and some imagined you sensed the excitement and anticipation of the previous date hadn’t at all waned. It was that family reunion, finally we made it, glad to see you in the flesh feel that you get when you as a collective make it to the other side of a dire situation and wish to have a communal celebration. To understand how that point was reached we need to take it back a few, so the selector will rewind…When it was officially proclaimed by The World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could not be contained and had reached the level global pandemic proportions, the world was a dark place. With the ensuing chaos, home was deemed as the safest place to be. For some, however, safety from the disease came at a huge expense.
A modicum of joy and enthusiasm was birthed, and the world was changed. The tried-and-true formula, of two turntables, a diverse crate of tunes and some creativity served as a launching pad to not just dance but to feel. In the ’70s that formula was executed by DJ Kool Herc to lay the foundation of the hip hop culture in the Bronx New York and ironically a DJ from the Bronx applied that same blueprint with the same transformative results. Salute to Derrick “D-Nice” Jones for that. Introduced to the world as an emcee with his debut studio album “Call Me D-Nice,” Jones has evolved into a hip hop renaissance man as he can claim major contributions in areas of production, photographer, and philanthropist. A self-proclaimed radical thinker on a musical level is best revealed through his persona as a DJ and his most recent creation, “Club Quarantine” personifies the very spirit and essence of what made hip hop great.
Pairing old school DJ equipment and modern technological advances, the Instagram Live series he hosted every night from his kitchen/ living room D-Nice’s Club Quarantine began to garner 100,000-plus viewers on a nightly basis, which included the likes of Academy Award winners Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry, Diddy, Oprah, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Through the series, D-Nice raised millions for First Responders, HBCUs, the CDC, The Apollo Theater, and more. Teaming up with Issa Rae’s Raedio, he also co-curated the official playlist of the Biden/Harris inauguration. Shortly after, he performed at the official Super Bowl LV pre-show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. WORK!!!
To mark the anniversary of the creation, on Friday, March 19, 2021, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined DJ D-Nice on Instagram live for a virtual event to proclaim the day as “Club Quarantine Day” in The Bronx.
“It’s no secret that The Bronx was hit hard by this pandemic, and many of us lost family members, friends and neighbors, but in the darkest of times we also saw great strength, creativity and compassion here in our borough and around the world,” said Diaz. “Through the creation of Club Quarantine, DJ D-Nice brought us all a needed outlet to come together safely and enjoy music at a time where many felt isolated. I want to thank D-Nice for holding us down in the Boogie Down Bronx, for showing the world why hip hop culture has become a global art, and for bringing this to our homes during some of the hardest days. I am proud to proclaim March 19th as ‘Club Quarantine Day.’”
“This is truly an honor,” said DJ D-Nice. “When I started doing this it wasn’t about rewards. This was about finding ways for people to stay connected, for people to hear the music and to distract people from what was going on, even just for a moment.”
Ahhh! Not the boldface names or the plaudits. It’s about the people!! That’s what made the night in Brooklyn special as Club Quarantine Live hit New York City.
The star-studded evening was a highlight reel, but personal memorable moments were as follows:
Stephanie Mills returning to her stomping ground with three songs, “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” “What You Gonna Do With My Loving?’ and “Home” that surmised her status as an icon.
Another Brooklyn-native, gospel artist Bishop Hezekiah Walker taking the congregation to church, including Legend Melba Moore raising her hands to the sky in praise, during a stunning version of his hit song “Better.”
Anthony Hamilton set off his set with the song “Back Together” (feat. Rick James) that was broken on a Club Quarantine session before renditions of “Charlene” and “Best of Me.”
D-Nice reuniting with his former Boogie Down Productions group member hip hop royalty KRS-One probably stood out as the MOMENT! “Scott La Rock and I knew that one of us wouldn’t make it, so Scott said I know this little dude named Derrick, he’s running around and we got to get him off the streets. We made him an honorary member of the group, the third member. That respect still last til this day. Now look how the tables turn. We used to give D Nice 50 dollars and a pizza, and he was good. Now look at him,” KRS shared before his closing salvo, “A Friend.”
Capping off the spectacular evening, the audience was then treated to a performance by surprise guest, singer-songwriter Kathy Sledge who performed her hit song, “Thinking of You,” while the crowd sang in unison. This song was what kicked off Club Quarantine on social media. The Originals then retook the stage and closed out the night with a rendition of the classic “Call Me D-Nice.”
That’s how you close a show!! Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.