Who can bring Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Natalie Portman, Rihanna, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders together on a Saturday night, while safely social distancing? Meet DJ D-Nice, who just threw the internet's best coronavirus social distancing dance party.
D-Nice, real name Derrick Jones, set the internet on fire over the weekend with his "Home School" at Club Quarantine virtual party on Instagram. He DJed live from his Los Angeles abode. Over 150,000 people tuned in for a 9-hour set full of feel-good songs. Viewers saw D-Nice rocking out in a white T-shirt, glasses and a variety of hats he changed throughout his sets. In between songs, he'd call out a few coronavirus-themed suggestions to his viewers, like, "Wash your hands!"
"We’re in Club Quarantine, but we ain’t gonna let corona stop us!" he declared.
D-Nice would namecheck the famous guests that joined and had some fun when Mark Zuckerberg popped in. He joked that the Facebook founder might "buy out the bar" for everyone.
The DJ started his daily "Home School" sets last Wednesday and is amazed at how it took off. Gayle King was one of the many famous folks who stopped by and she interviewed the entertainer via video about the viral party on CBS This Morning.
"Saturday night Derrick, I literally got out of my bed and was dancing around the room in my T-shirt it was so much fun," King shared Monday. "So where did this idea come from Derrick, and how do you decide the setlist? It was so great Saturday night."
"I was at home, I'm self-isolating," Jones explained. "Outside of just missing my family, the other most important thing to me was the crowd, DJing for people. I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning and just decided I want to throw a party."
While it was supposed to be a party for his friends, word of mouth quickly spread. Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Justin Timberlake, Diddy, Gabrielle Union, Tyra Banks, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Halle Berry and Kerry Washington are just a few of the stars that popped in to see what was going on. But it was Michelle Obama that caused things to come to a halt.
"The part that touched me the most, you know I put in a call to see if I could get the former first lady in there," he told King. "I wasn't sure and the moment she popped in I just froze! It's not like I haven't DJed for her before, I just froze up! I was like, 'I didn't know what to play!'"
D-Nice played at Barack Obama's farewell party at the White House in October 2016. He quickly recovered on Saturday and remembered the former first lady loves Beyoncé, so he went with a Beyoncé set.
"I don't have a playlist, I just play what feels good," he explained. "I wanted people to feel good, I wanted their spirits to be lifted through music just one song at a time."
He added, "Music has always been a great escape, you can just feel good no matter what your problems are. You put on a good tune and it just takes you away, I was trying to just do that through music."
There were a few people that didn't appreciate the late-night party, though.
"The weird part I guess was that my neighbors were complaining that the music was too loud," he quipped. "But I'm like — if they only knew!"
The 49-year-old entertainer has been around for a while as he got his start in the late ‘80s with the hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions. He went out on his own, released two studio albums and — fun fact — is credited with helping discover Kid Rock. D-Nice, who is also a photographer, found success in recent years as a DJ.
While the music industry has been familiar with D-Nice for decades, it's safe to say he just reached a much wider audience. Before the weekend started he had around 200,000 followers and as of Monday, he's sitting at 1.4 million.
D-Nice told King he was blown away by the amount of fun people were having, with everyone acting like they really were in a club. (Some clubgoers even found a potential love connection.)
— Gayle King (@GayleKing) March 23, 2020
Naomi Campbell called him a "hero."
"My feet," she commented on one of his posts. "Stayed with you till 130 am est .. resting up ready to go again. Thank you for bringing joy to our souls and music [to] our ears .. unconditional love."
Oprah called it the "Best party of 1 and 100k I ever been to!"
For anyone who missed the bash, D-Nice has you covered. He'll be getting the party started Monday at 6 p.m ET.
For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.
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