MINNEAPOLIS — Social Distancing can't stop us from connecting. This weekend something incredible happened.
Celebrity DJ D-Nice made history with his Instagram Live party. He called it Homeschool at Club Quarantine. Saturday night, more than 104,000 thousand people attending. Sunday, he hit about 160,000.
Minnesotans partied with Michelle Obama, Oprah, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union, a host of politicians and others.
The DJ, whose real name is Derrick Jones, saluted health care and emergency medical workers on the front lines of this pandemic. And he gave a shout-out to everyday people as viewers dropped notes in the comment section.
"You know why we are here. We got to make sure we wash our hands.
We are here to make sure everyone else is not contracting the coronavirus," D-NICE said while pausing the music. "We are trying to stay inside and we have our own parties going on."
And when he hit the 100,000 mark, he celebrated. It appeared DJ D-Nice was surprised too.
"We have 100,000 people in here rocking with us right now. This is insane," he said. "We are bringing the world together. This is the biggest party in the world."
On Sunday, his followers on Instagram swelled to more than 1.2 million.
That same day, he played tunes for 160,000 people. Minnesota was in the house, too.
From the comfort of their own homes, Alex Merritt, Lavern McCartney- Knighton and Elisa Rucker all danced the night away. They shared their experience with us on ZOOM.
"It just picked my spirits up. I was almost able to convince my husband to join me," McCartney-Knighton said.
"Very rarely do you see the Millennials, the Boomers and the Generation Xers all in the same space having an amazing time," Merritt said. "I think Club Quarantine was incredible."
At one point, DJ D-Nice said Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg was "buying out the bar." And the ladies loved the unlimited drinks.
"You could open your fridge and pour your glass of wine or Coke or whatever you were drinking," Rucker said. "It was joy. It took me back to my childhood, the college years and teen years. It felt like a good old-fashioned basement party with a red light. You didn't need to have a lot of people around you. I just found myself, dancing by myself, in my house having a good old time."
Aside from the celebrities, Jones uplifted marginalized communities. Some of them may not get hit with COVID-19 but will likely feel a financial strain.
Rucker says for one moment, more than 100,000 people were able to forget about their troubles.
"He acknowledged the people entering the room. It is all about finding joy in the little things," she said.
On Instagram he wrote, "I never would've imagined that the best party I would create and DJ would be from the comfort of my own home."
D-Nice helped discover Kid Rock in the 1980's. And this week, Minnesotans and the rest of the world found D-Nice.
"It was such a surprise," McCartney-Knighton said.
Indeed, a pleasant surprise bringing the world together when we need it most.
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