When COVID-19 shut the country down in March of 2020, people were left searching for ways to cope with their new isolated reality. In a period defined by loneliness and loss, music was one of the few things that brought us back together. 

Nowhere was that more apparent than in Club Quarantine.

It all started with an Instagram Live stream on March 19, 2020, where veteran DJ D-Nice spun classic records to an audience of about 250. Within days that number had ballooned to 100,000 with attendees ranging from Rihanna to Michelle Obama.

DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine performance for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn festival was a star-studded affair. Photo: JBoogieLove Photography for BK Reader.

Last night, for BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn concert series at Prospect Park, D-Nice, a New York City native who got his start with the legendary hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, brought the magic of those quarantine sets to life in front of a sprawling crowd. Hosted by comedian Spice Adams, the evening wasted no time getting to the main event, with D-Nice taking the stage to play an array of music, from 70s and 80s disco to classic hip hop to Dancehall. 

Prince’s I Wanna Be Your Lover, blended into Rick James’ Give It to Me Baby, which became Stevie Wonder’s Do I Do, all as the crowd sang along and moved their feet, eager to dance away the difficulties of the past year and a half.

“Last year was difficult,” D-Nice, born Derrick Jones, told People magazine earlier this year. “We’ve lost a lot of people. That’s what made Club Quarantine so important, because it was always a safe space for people.”

On the bandshell stage, he made sure to acknowledge that loss, pausing the jubilation to remember the lives of hip hop icons DMX, Biz Markie and Black Rob, all of whom passed away this year. After a somber moment, D-Nice dropped the beat to X’s smash hit Party Up and the celebration continued.

DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine performance for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn festival was a star-studded affair. Photo: JBoogieLove Photography for BK Reader.

As the night progressed D-Nice brought out a string of friends to perform alongside him, keeping with the theme of using music to bring people together. One by one a diverse array of performers graced the stage including The Originals, Melba Moore, Bed Stuy’s own Stephanie Mills, Estelle, Anthony Hamilton, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Kathy Sledge, Frederic Yonnet, surprise guest Common, and legendary rapper and fellow Boogie Down member KRS-One. At one point Spike Lee even took the stage to show love to the borough of Brooklyn.

Still, there was no mistaking who the star of the night was. As each performer finished playing their hits, they made sure to let the crowd know their appreciation for the man who made the event possible.

D-Nice attempted to shift some of the praise back on his fellow performers by telling the story of a time when Estelle brought a case of water to his house during one of his marathon Club Quarantine sets. “I could not do any of this without you,” he said.

“This is all you,” she replied.

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Jackson Ferrari Ibelle

Jackson Ferrari Ibelle is a Providence, RI native who has lived in Crown Heights since 2019. He is a Northeastern University graduate and splits his time between writing for BK Reader and working as a...

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