By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor

A particularly cruel urban myth that emerged early on during the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic was, “Black people don’t catch it.”

The truth is, like many deadly diseases, more people of color and poor people disproportionately seem to be contracting COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, than other groups in the United States.

A harrowing example of that fact manifested last month in one of the Whitest states in the nation.

Idaho, which is more than 90 percent White, and less than one percent Black, is where dozens of Black skiers were stricken with the coronavirus in March and a Hip Hop music legend was among those sick.

According to a report in The New Yorker published on April 3, DJ Jazzy Jeff announced on March 30, that he was suffering from pneumonia and associated coronavirus symptoms. Jazzy Jeff, whose real name is Jeffrey Allen Townes, successfully teamed with Will “The Fresh Prince” Smith in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The influential music producer and DJ was allegedly spinning records at Whiskey Jacques bar, in Ketchum, Idaho on March 6. The party was part of the festivities connected to the annual Black Summit of the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS), which is the largest Black ski and snowboard association in the world. More than 700 NBS members gathered in Idaho from around the country for the annual gathering that provides a major financial boon to Ketchum and neighboring Sun Valley. According to the New Yorker report, one week after their arrival about 126 members of NBS had come down with symptoms of the coronavirus, 20 tested positive, eight were hospitalized, with three confined to intensive care units.

Tragically, two longtime members of NBS, Nathaniel Jackson of Pasadena, Calif. and Charles Jackson of Los Angeles have died of the illness. The two had shared a room while in Sun Valley according to reports.

Subsequently, Jazzy Jeff apparently has made a full recovery from his coronavirus scare and reportedly played music on April 4, during an Instagram live set hosted by Adidas Originals.


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor