A memorial service was conducted Friday, Jan. 21, at Staten Island’s New Hope Community Church (77 Alaska St.) for Jesse D, founding member of the legendary soul/hip-hop group, The Force MDs. The pioneering musical troupe are known for delivering such 1980s classics as “Tender Love,” “Let Me Love You,” “Here I Go Again,” and “Forgive Me Girl.”
Jessie Lee Daniels was born July 4, 1963 in Staten Island. He became an ancestor Jan. 4; no cause was announced.
A fan posted on Facebook that Jesse D was “one hell of an entertainer with a strong passion for music.”
He formed The Force along with several relatives and childhood friends. He was an uncle to the Lundy brothers—Antonio “T.C.D.,” Khalil and Stevie, Charles “Mercury” Nelson, DJ Dr. Rock, Shawn Waters, Trisco Pearson, Damean Heyward, and Jesse Ranie rounded out the group.
Throughout the 1980s/’90s they were on the forefront of fusing a sound which influenced an entire generation of artists. During the 1980s they consistently performed uptown at the Apollo Theater as well as at Harlem World and The Rooftop.
Pastor and recording artist, Montel Jordan moderated the memorial ceremony. He joked about New York City’s cold weather, being that he traveled all the way from warm Southern California to pay his respects because, “I wanted to come here for my musical brother.”
Various legendary musical artists, such as LA Sunshine from The Treacherous Three, were also in attendance. Numerous others expressed their condolences via social media.
Jesse D’s stepdaughter reminisced: “He was the father I never had. He used to make us sing and dance, as children. He took care of all of us. He loved his music and children.”
She expressed her gratitude for him “being the father that he was to all of us. Take that memory of Jesse with you, and he lives forever.” And explained, “The purpose of our ancestors recording their history,” and related it to his musical career.
The Force MDs were initially rappers known as The Force MCs, and conducted legendary battles against hip hop crews like Thee Cold Crush Brothers, prior to hip hop music being featured on commercial radio 24 hours a day
His niece stated: “He was our Michael Jackson” and described how “he once ran up on stage during another act’s performance,” as a youth, and performed some of the ‘King of Pops’ dance moves, unannounced, before security dragged him off stage.
His daughter, Justina aka Harmony, sang her rendition of Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” prior to Montel joining surviving members of “The Force,” Khalil and Steve, as they performed “Love Is a House” to close out the evening.
Trisco passed in September 2016, from cancer. Mercury succumbed to a heart attack in 1995. TCD battled ALS before his 1998 death, and DJ Dr. Rock passed from natural causes in 1996.