Written by Jack Knight & Jeremy Merrell Williams
I just found that my best friend's parents died within the same week; I also found out my uncle had just been admitted to the hospital, and he had a few pre-existing conditions, now the family is sitting at the edge of our seats. This exact story and scenario had become commonplace for most of us coupled with the loss of livelihood, fear, and for some a loneliness and restriction of movement like we have never seen or experienced.
Many of us experienced the worst of worst-case scenarios, and the one medium people had left to rely on was social media, streaming music, and streaming video; however, with personal stories of mounting tragedy and government officials holding press conferences every few hours, even social media had become a prisoner to the confines of the coronavirus. What could distract us long enough to connect and feel alive again even though the walls of our homes and apartments were closing in? Furthermore, who or what would lead us through this mental time warp?
The answer: DJs
The art of and ethos of the DJ has always been about creating a shared mood, a universal space for like minds - if you will. It’s about understanding the feelings of a group of people and directing them towards a more unified plane. It’s never just been about choosing a few tunes to play on loud oversized speakers. Music purifies the soul while soothing the body and mind. DJs are practitioners of cosmic therapy. They change the world just a little more every single day. All it takes is a listen and you will see for yourself. From the 1950s Jamaican sound wars to the birth of Hip-Hop in the early 1970s, the DJ has been the strongest link in the chain -- and with the advances of technology in the mid-80s, we saw DJ’s capitalize to enhance their capabilities and creativity as they invaded radio.
In more recent times, DJs have found themselves evolving into social media experts with profiles on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever else is out there. Today's virtual sound spaces may pose as an obstacle course of sorts for addictive feedback loops and social anxieties, but on the positive spectrum, they also offer fertile & sold ground for a new generation of underground music listeners.
“LAST NIGHT THE DJ SAVED MY LIFE” was the title song on the hit record by the group Indeep. A phrase within one of their lyrics reads like so: “If it wasn’t for the music, I don’t know what I do”. This was so on point and ahead of its time. Who knew that music would be the primary catalyst to foster and activate a worldwide connection and love in real-time.
What could make Halle Berry, Michelle Obama, Diddy, Teddy Riley, Donnie Walhberg, Kevin hart, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg all come dance in one section of the club and jam out together? ENTERS Derrick Jones, better known by his stage name D-Nice, an American disc jockey, beat boxer, rapper, producer, and photographer who began his career in the mid-1980s with the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions.
In March 2020, D-Nice began hosting Homeschool at Club Quarantine on Instagram Live from his home as a way for people to come together and help others cope with the COVID-19 global health crisis. The 3/21 Saturday night dance party ran 9 hours and D-Nice urged people to "take care of one another and wash their hands." It drew over 100,000 viewers, including Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, Nile Rodgers, Lalah Hathaway, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Dwyane Wade, Janet Jackson, Fab Five Freddy, , Angela Bassett and Sheila E. among others.
The following day, March 22, his stream capped at over 150,000 simultaneous viewers. On March 25, 2020, D-Nice streamed another Instagram Live party. He partnered with former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama for his set titled Couch Party to bring attention to voter registration. The original goal was to register 50,000 voters. That number was surpassed to over 300,000 registered voters. This event was viewed by over 60,000 people including Rosario Dawson, Tisha Campbell-Martin,Kerry Washington, Selena Gomez, Chris Paul, B-Real, Black Thought (of The Roots) among others. D-Nice called this stream
"A party with a purpose".
D-Nice not only played old classics and genderless mega hits from the 60s on up, but he broke a new record called “LIVE BETTER” by an artist called Juexa whom he shouted out every so often for being so thoughtful of him when she and her husband went to his house to bring him some food to eat. Club Quarantine crowd was only 200-300 people.
“This was so special” he stated, and he labeled her (Juexa) as “one of us” ….” One of the good people”. D-Nice paid it forward by replaying it again and again.
Julexa’s Grandfather Died of COVID-19, so this sign of respect and empathy was in good taste and spirit. Not only was I an observer, But I co-wrote and produced the song and was in amazement that my song had been played on what I coined “The New Radio” smack dead in the middle of the Pandemic to thousands of people.
This is only one of many hundreds and thousands of stories reverberating around the world regarding the sonic healing of the soul in this age of Covid-19. Evermore so, in these times we find that social media is stuffed full of people singing and dancing during these months of uncomfortable social isolation. It's largely through the power of music that we are able to cope. For DJs and the musically gifted, these unpredictable days present an ideal opportunity for artists to hone their craft, share music across social media, and use it as a means to connect with the world beyond these increasingly claustrophobic four walls.
Everything is temporary, life, love, happiness, success, and even catastrophe, nothing lasts forever; but tonight, though death is all the around us, we feel eternal.
Last Night The DJ Saved Our Lives.
About Jack Knight
Jack Knight, is a proven leader & innovator in the entertainment and social networking field. He has contributed to selling over 50 million records worldwide and has helped Sean “Diddy” Combs build the Bad Boy Music Label into a Billion dollar mega-brand. His contributions to the fabric of American culture begin as a producer and hit songwriter but also include a multitude of creative projects that encompass his passion for Music, T.v, Film, and social justice. His brand reaches millions across the globe where he has discovered, nurtured, and taught aspiring youth the art of songwriting. You check in on Jack's latest ventures via his websitewww.madeineny.comor IG @jackknightthelegend