During the shutdown, stay-at-home phase of the pandemic, D-Nice created Club Quarantine (CQ). On the scene for decades, the photographer, hip-hop recording artist, and member of the Kennedy Center Hip-Hop Culture Council, D-Nice, opened his heart and shared with millions a vast multigenerational library of music through CQ. This past weekend, CQ was live as D-Nice became the first DJ and hip-hop artist to headline the Kennedy Center Opera House. Those mingling outside the Opera House before going in were of one mind: Let’s get this party started!
When D-Nice was introduced, everyone in the Opera House jumped immediately to their feet. Cellphone cameras were never turned off. The audience was dressed to jam! From after-five sparkle to tuxedos to casual chic to gear for hanging out at the cookout, it did not matter what you wore, those “dressed to the nines,” were not shy about wearing top-of-the-line sneakers.
The MC for “CQ Live” was Kenny Burns, a native Washingtonian and entertainment entrepreneur. He seemed to think Howard University was the only HBCU in the District as he kept yelling, “HU!” Burns helped to introduce the special guests who came to perform. D-Nice was extremely humble as he thanked each special guest for supporting a vision of togetherness through CQ.
Backing D-Nice, who spun one party hit after another, was Igmar Thomas’s Revive Orchestra. The parade of hitmakers was ready to deliver. Digable Planets, LeToya Luckett, Eric Benét, Faith Evans, hip-hop legends EPMD and Too $hort, and contemporary gospel artist Israel Houghton were all there. Of course, how can any reputable DJ come to DC and not acknowledge go-go? What a surprise for Sugar Bear from E.U. to come on stage performing “Da’ Butt.”
It was a magical evening. After the three-hour show ended, the crowd outside the Opera House did not disburse for a long time. Revelers wanted the party to continue. We were spoiled. CQ hosted by D-Nice meant we can now only listen to hip-hop backed by a full orchestra. The string section jammed. In fact, the musicians playing violin and viola often danced and played at the same time. The Kennedy Center created an environment that eliminated the need to enter a club again. It’s what D-Nice created, and it worked.
Follow D-Nice on Instagram @dnice.