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Remembering New Orleans Bounce DJ Black N Mild

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

More than 500 people in Louisiana have died from COVID-19, and we're going to spend a moment now remembering one of them - DJ Black N Mild.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "RHYTHM AND BOUNCE")

OLIVER STOKES JR: Mic check, one, two, one, two - another week, another "Rhythm And Bounce" right here on WBOK. Here's yours truly, DJ Black N Mild.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

DJ Black N Mild helped bring New Orleans bounce music to the radio. For years, he hosted popular shows like "Rhythm And Bounce" on WBOK.

SHAPIRO: Born Oliver Stokes Jr., DJ Black N Mild grew up singing in his New Orleans church choir - a big kid with a high voice. The city served as lifelong inspiration for his music.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING

STOKES: Tourists, like, step out into the street or step out from their hotel room, go to the French Quarter and just feel it. No, that's not the humidity; that's the soul of New Orleans that is just enveloping them.

KELLY: Stokes' wife Cassandra told Billboard Magazine he would have crowds jumping within minutes, that he loved to get people on the dance floor. In a 2012 interview, he remembered his first time DJing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STOKES: And then after the mix went on, took the headphones off and then I was shocked because my boy was just standing behind me. I was like, what's wrong? He was like, boy, you going to be a hell of a DJ one day.

SHAPIRO: Stokes' life centered around his four kids who adored him. They had movie nights, vacations, trips to the park. He was dean of students at a New Orleans charter school where he coached the football team. He died on March 19.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "RHYTHM AND BOUNCE")

STOKES: So as usual, it's been an honor and a pleasure to rock out with you for "Rhythm And Bounce." So God willing, I'll see y'all next week.

KELLY: Oliver Stokes Jr., better known as DJ Black N Mild - he was 44 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.