Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there have been two influential musical figures recently affected by the disease. An unfortunately fatal case involved New Orleans-based radio personality DJ Black N Mild (born Oliver Stokes Jr.) who tested positive and died on the same day Thursday, March 19. Stokes was 44-years-old when he passed, according to NME. Meanwhile, Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Griange has been reportedly hospitalized recently after testing positive for coronavirus, according to NME.
The aforementioned NME article regarding the New Orleans radio personality furthers that “… Stokes is known for bringing bounce music to New Orleans and to have one of the earliest radio shows dedicated to the genre, Bounce 104.5.” Stokes outside of music worked, since July 2019, at Arthur Ashe Charter School in Gentilly as an “in school suspension coordinator.” As previously reported in Essence, Stokes had been reportedly chronicling, via social media, his battle with illness “… describing a trip to an urgent care center on March 9 and his 102.4-degree temperature. By March 11, he’d been admitted to University Medical Center. His last social media post read, ‘Pneumonia not the flu.'”
For the Universal Music Chairman and CEO, his Coronavirus diagnosis came after he recently celebrated his 60th birthday on February 29 in Palm Springs, California. According to the aforementioned NME article regarding Grainge, “Communal facilities at La Quinta’s Madison Club – where Grainge’s party had been held, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and other high-profile attendees – have been shut down in response to the music chief’s illness.” According to Variety, Griange “…is currently receiving treatment at Los Angeles’ UCLA Medical Center, sources said.”
UMG’s Santa Monica Headquarters reportedly closed its doors as of Friday March 13, after it was learned that a then unidentified employee, now thought to be Grainge, tested positive for coronavirus. According to an internal e-mail obtained by Variety, it reads:
“Previously, we have committed that if there were to be a confirmed case of coronavirus infection in any of our offices, we would immediately close that location. We have just been informed that there is a confirmed case of infection in an employee based in our 2220 Colorado Avenue offices. Accordingly and out of an abundance of caution, we are immediately closing all of our Santa Monica offices, and all Santa Monica staff are required to work from home until further notice.”
Recently the music industry has had to do major restructuring. Many artists and events have suffered major setbacks due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As previously reported here on mxdwn, just as recent as Friday March 20 “Two attendees of the CRSSD Festival, which took place on the weekend of March 7th and 8th at Waterfront Park in San Diego have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Billboard. The festival goers received the test results back this past Tuesday after attending the EDM festival.”