by Dennis Archer Jr.
150,000 people. As I begin to memorialize my thoughts; I sit, my two sons always within earshot, awaiting an invisible storm to sweep through Detroit, Michigan, across the country and world, I am partying with 150,000 people. I am with Michael Eric Dyson, Snoop Dogg, Stephen Curry, Coach K, Michelle Obama, Lenny and Zoe Kravitz, Amy Schumer, Taraji P. Henson, Sean Combs, Jenny McCarthy, Naomi Campbell, La La Anthony, Usher, Russell Simmons, and my brother Vincent, my girl Wendi in San Francisco, Jimmy in Florida and Eric on the west coast. I like to think of myself as creative and as the consummate host, however I have been outdone. The host of our party, D-Nice (Derrick Jones) is a dear friend and admired artist. He’s rooted in hip hop’s history and solidified in today’s pop culture.
I admire those that are happy in life. I admire those that are successful. I especially admire those that love what they do; their work bringing them happiness and fulfillment. Then there’s another level. There are those that love what they do and in doing so they bring happiness to others. Last week, D-Nice, from his West Coast high rise, started “Homeschool at Club Quarantine” on Instagram Live, at that point yet unnamed, with 200 followers.
At a very rare time (I know of no other) the world is at once united. Unfortunately, we are united in fear, despair, and distrust. We are hunkering down with our families, keeping in touch with our friends near and far, and likely reaching out to those with whom we haven’t kept in contact, but wish we had. We are tallying regrets and promising ourselves not to repeat life’s mistakes.
This is also a time when the digital space is being used to bully, to sway elections and to spread false propaganda. It is refreshing to experience these amazing tools used to unite, to inspire, to bring smiles to otherwise confused and concerned faces. Music, likewise, is powerful. We all associate different songs or artists with our lives’ many times, episodes and events. For the 150,000 of us joining D-Nice in his apartment, dancing, singing and waiting for another sunset, D-Nice and “Homeschool at Club Quarantine” will be forever associated as the high note in this otherwise low period in our history.
It is refreshing to see a successful artist freely share his love and passion for his craft. Wait, Patti Labelle and Chaka Khan joined the party, and now James Brown is playing, and thousands more guests arrived. For each of the last several days, D-Nice has played for up to nine hours. One attendee commented, “Does D-Nice have a catheter in? He hasn’t even gone to the bathroom.” On that same day, live on Instagram, Puffy had a bottle of CÎROC delivered to D-Nice. Then, Puff delivered tequila. It’s as if we are all going to share.
D-Nice commented that “We are bringing the world together, and we are going to have fun.” We all need to escape at times for a multitude of reasons. It seems that now, during this time, most of the world needs an escape, and D-Nice has invited us to escape into his high rise, where for the last few nights, we have listened to him play, watched him dance, read thousands of scrolling comments and watched the sunset. Billy Ocean “Caribbean Queen” plays, a shout out to Jive Records, and new additions of Khloé Kardashian, Valerie Jarrett and Kenny Smith. This party can never reach capacity. It will not close. It will not limit hours and there is no cover charge.
Each of us has something to share, whether with one person or thousands. George Michael, Fela Cuti, Donna Summer, David Bowie, Bad Boy, Uptown, East Coast, West Coast, all brought to my iPhone courtesy of D-Nice and Instagram Live. While I thank my brother, D, I encourage all of you to share. I am going to dig into my passion and share with those I love. We all need smiles, laughter and inspiration. In the words of D’s partner in crime, Kenny Burns, “Let’s go.”