We don’t have to tell you how dark the COVID-19 times were at their peak. There we were in 2020 and 2021, the threat of COVID-19 all around, many facing loneliness and loss, and with an uncertain future ahead.
Enter: D-Nice. The veteran hip-hop DJ and producer who used music to light up the dark times.
What D-Nice did in 2020 would be tough to replicate. He saw a world of people in isolation, and did what he does best to break the barriers keeping us apart. He did this through music — launching live Instagram sessions that got us dancing together in the comfort of our homes.
For a DJ and producer used to playing gigs to thousands of people for up to nine hours per set, being told to quarantine was like telling the sun not to shine.
That’s why he started playing gigs for people on Instagram Live, dubbing them “Home School.”
“Well with the first one, part of me felt a bit lonely, you know," he told GQ. "I’m used to just being in front of so many people and being isolated was a difficult thing."
It started with a few of his friends joining the sessions, growing in scale until some of the biggest names in entertainment were tuning in and hyping up the virtual events. The likes of Kelly Rowland, Le Toya Luckett, Ludacris, Drake, JLo, and former US first lady Michelle Obama all vibed along to his sets. Eventually, they became so big that he hosted 100,000 people on his Home School sessions.
The sessions later came to be known as Club Quarantine, and they grew more and more essential for people seeking community at a time when we couldn't be together in person.
For the Community
D-Nice did a lot more with his sessions than getting us moving and grooving. It was also important to him to bring light to the world at the time when the Black Lives Matter protests were reaching new peaks and the cry for racial justice was growing louder around the globe. He not only created a space that brought people together, but he also created a space for Black people to feel safe, and to celebrate in Black culture unapologetically.
"I felt like my job was important to be a source of inspiration to so many people,” he told People Magazine.
“We've lost a lot of people," he continued. "I've lost a lot of friends in the music industry due to COVID-19. But then we were also fighting when protesting was going on in our communities and police brutality, it was hard. That's what made Club Quarantine so important, because it was always a safe space for people."
D-Nice has continued to use his music to put people first, and one of the biggest ways he does this is through making education accessible to those who need it most.
As well as creating a community space on his personal Instagram, D-Nice also joined MTV on a special reboot of Club MTV to support the Save The Music Foundation, an organization helping students in lower-income communities whose education was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also hosted a specific Club Quarantine session to raise funds for the United Fund, which supports Black students across the US to access education through college scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities — otherwise known as HBCUs. The 4-hour event raised $225,000.
For an End to Extreme Poverty
This year, D-Nice will be joining the stunning Global Citizen Festival lineup to add his voice to the call to end extreme poverty. Taking place on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in NYC’s Central Park on the Great Lawn, this will be D-Nice’s first time on the Global Citizen stage — joining an incredible host of artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Jung Kook, Anitta, Conan Gray, D-Nice, and Sofia Carson. Stray Kids had been set to perform but due to an unforeseen accident, we will be joined by 3RACHA, which features three members of Stray Kids: Changbin, Bang Chan, and HAN.
You can join D-Nice in raising your voice and calling for action from world leaders for equity, for food security, and for the climate by taking action as part of this year’s Global Citizen Festival campaign (and beyond!). Find actions you can take right now to get started.