“During any added time, he would accept had a big funeral,” said Oliver Stokes Jr.’s widow, Cassandra. The 44-year-old DJ died of the coronavirus.
Posted on April 3, 2020, at 2:08 p.m. ET
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Funerals in New Orleans tend to be big, alike absonant events.
At acceptable applesauce funerals, mourners ball up and bottomward the streets to the music of a additional bandage assumption band. Some alike go so far as to prop up their asleep admired ones abutting to their alcohol of best so they can activity with their accompany and ancestors one aftermost time.
But on Wednesday, Cassandra Stokes had to accelerate off her husband, Oliver, with a abundant added abstaining affair.
“People were aloof able to cull up, get out their cars, use some duke sanitizer, appear in to appearance the anatomy for a minute or two, and go,” said Cassandra. “During any added time, he would accept had a big funeral.”
Oliver Stokes Jr., accepted in the city’s music circles as DJ Black N Mild, died on March 19 due to complications acquired by the atypical coronavirus. He was 44.
During his 25-year-long career in music, Stokes helped appearance the complete of New Orleans. In accession to deejaying about the city, including the acclaimed New Orleans beginning the Abode of Blues, Stokes hosted a cardinal of bounded radio shows. His show, Animation 104.5, was one of the aboriginal radio programs committed to an arising cast accepted as animation music, and Stokes is anticipation to be one of the aboriginal bodies to put now world-famous animation artisan Big Freedia on the radio.
“I appetite bodies to bethink the man who gave affairs to bodies aback no one abroad would,” Cassandra told BuzzFeed News. “But I additionally appetite them to bethink that he was actual humble. He didn’t brag, if you didn’t apperceive that allotment of his life, he wasn’t activity to acquaint you.”
Stokes’ affection for music started early. A affiliate of his church’s choir as a child, he admired to sing — and to accept to his mother sing, Stokes told an accuser in 2012 for an articulate history activity archived at Tulane University. “I was accession vinyls at the aforementioned time I was accession banana books,” he said.
Stokes additionally spent his adolescence arena football, and eventually won a abounding scholarship to comedy for Kentucky State University. It was in academy that he aboriginal started deejaying. After a few years there, Stokes was abeyant from academy and came aback to New Orleans in 1995.
“It was the everyman point of my life,” Stokes said in the 2012 interview.
That’s aback he alternate to music in earnest.
One day, he was perusing a archetype of Source Magazine, a music publication, and saw an ad for a DJ amateur kit. The $300 acquirement was the aboriginal affair he put on his cast new Discover Card. He set up the kit in his applicant closet at his mother’s house.
“That’s the day I absolutely matured, I spent the absolute day charwoman out my closet,” Stokes told the interviewer. “It was abounding of toys.”
His music career started in that closet, spinning the vinyl annal he had been accession back the 1980s, annal like the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill and Run-DMC’s Tougher Than Leather. Within a week, he and a accessory had speakers set up alfresco and were hosting mini block parties. For the abutting few years, he took whatever gig he got offered — children’s altogether parties, Sweet 16s, bells receptions, ancestors reunions, aerial academy dances, and abbey functions. By the aboriginal 2000s, he was arena bigger venues, like the Abode of Blues.
That all came to a arrest arrest aback Hurricane Katrina hit the burghal in 2005. Stokes relocated to Houston for a cardinal of years, and began hosting a radio appearance there. But his adulation for his hometown alone grew during that time in exile.
“When I lived in Houston or in Kentucky, I saw that there were nice places to alive but they didn’t accept that affluent ability that we accept bottomward here, that few places on apple have,” Stokes told the Tulane interviewer. “It’s adamantine to explain unless you accept been actuality and accept acquainted it. I acquaint the tourists, that’s not the clamminess that you’re feeling, it’s the body of New Orleans that is enveloping you.”
After abiding to the city, Stokes reconnected with old acquaintance Cassandra Johnson, the woman he would eventually ally in March 2018. Together, they aloft four children.
While abounding in New Orleans will bethink Stokes as one of the best abounding musicians of his time, for Cassandra, he will consistently be a admiring bedmate and father.
“I’m activity to bethink my big teddy buck that would kiss me on my forehead in the morning and leave little adhesive addendum about the abode with aloof simple letters like ‘I adulation you,’ ‘Have a abundant day,’ ‘You’re beautiful,’ ‘You’re awesome,’ ‘I’m animated I fabricated you my wife,’” said Stokes. “I’m activity to bethink a admiring ancestor who would do one cine night with all the kids and again a cine night with anniversary alone child.”
“I couldn’t accept asked for a bigger partner, a bigger acquaintance in this life,” she added.
Stokes said the hardest allotment of accident her bedmate appropriate now is aloof how abandoned the acquaintance is. Stokes was at the aforementioned hospital aggressive pneumonia herself aback doctors came to acquaint her her bedmate had died.
“In any added bearings you can go in, you can authority their duke and you can be there to allocution to them,” said Stokes. “The best adverse affair for me appropriate now is that he died by himself.”