Merritone’s Family Fun Day promoter trying to stay corona-free

Monte Blake

Having just lost his longtime friend, NY radio pioneer Gil Bailey to the coronavirus on Monday, 75-year-old music legend Monte Blake is doing his best to keep from contracting the deadly virus.

“Sadly, I’m the kind of guy corona would like,” Blake, Merritone sound system principal, told BUZZ.

“I just made 75 and I have the typical things; I have a little asthma and a little hypertension and these are the underlying conditions that make you a victim of the coronavirus,” he said. “The government has told me to not go out except for the supermarket, bank or pharmacy, so I’m following it to the T. I’m very careful in a nutshell.”

Around this time each year, Blake would be overseeing plans for Merritone’s Family Fun Day in the summer in New York. But with the COVID-19 death toll surpassing 10,000 in New York, Blake said the event is the last thing on his mind.

‘With all these nuclear weapons, one little virus humble the world just like that.’

—Monte Blake

“I wouldn’t count it out yet but it’s not a good thing to push in this time,” he said. “We really care about people first and we have to see what is happening. A lot of people are out of work and their mind isn’t on anything like that. It’s definitely taking an impact on the diaspora, black people in general and poor people. It’s very sad and shows how fragile we are. With all these nuclear weapons, one little virus humble the world just like that. Nobody was ready for it.”

When the “storm” passes, Blake is most looking forward to reconnecting with supporters of the Merritone sound system, which was founded by his brother, Winston, in the 1950s.

“I’m sure when it lifts up everybody is gonna wanna go out and celebrate life cause this is a lesson,” he said. “People and family are the glue that keeps Merritone going all these years and it’s such a joy to go out there and get all the hugs. Can you imagine with corona and not being able to get my hugs? If Winston was alive I don’t think he could manage this cause he was a hugger and a kisser. I’m trying my best to live through the storm and hopefully, after the storm, we can continue to be merry.”