Jelani Cobb

For nine hours on Saturday night, D-Nice oversaw a spectacle that was part dance party and part social-media therapy. Chaka Khan showed up. Lenny Kravitz was there. So were Diddy, Timbaland, Alicia Keys, Ava DuVernay, MC Lyte, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Jamie Foxx, and Kerry Washington. Michelle Obama popped in for a minute and caused a record skip as D-Nice froze, trying to decide what to play for the former FLOTUS —he went with a Beyoncé set.

The virtual party, broadcast over Instagram Live, featured a simple Webcam shot of D-Nice—bopping in a white T-shirt, wire-framed glasses, and a rotating array of wide-brimmed hats—standing at his digital DJ setup in Los Angeles and curating sets of classic R&B, soul, old-school hip-hop, dance music, nineties pop, and the occasional salsa or Afrobeat offering.

Somewhere in the fifth hour, Mark Zuckerberg dropped in like a club owner swinging by to check out the revenues before heading home for the night. Like any great impresario, Jones made sure his audience knew why it wanted to be there: hyping his next set, shouting out friends and new celebrity arrivals.

In between, he offered the occasional public-health gem of the corona era: “Wash your hands!” and “We’re in Club Quarantine, but we ain’t gonna let corona stop us!”
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