John “Ecstasy” Fletcher of the ’80s group Whodini died today at the age of 56. Fletcher and Jalil Hutchins formed the Brooklyn-based Whodini in 1982 before Drew “Grandmaster Dee” Carter became their DJ. Thomas Dolby helped produced their debut single “Magic Wand” which was dedicated to DJ Magic Mike and the first hip-hop song to have a video. The group ascended to legendary status with their songs “Friends,” “Five Minutes Of Funk,” “One Love” “Freaks Come Out At Night” and “Big Mouth.” They were one of the Black groups at the time to have a presence on national radio. Fletcher was one of hip-hop’s early sex symbols known for his voice, bedroom eyes and Zorro hat. He had a cool stage presence never seen breaking into a sweat and was one of the few male rappers to have non-toxic masculinity.
Whodini’s show had performances from breakdancers like UTFO, who would have their own rap careers and a young Jermaine Dupri. Their music also had an influence on the New Jack Swing movement. They released six albums with the last one being the 1996 Six produced by Dupri. The group was honored at the 4th Vh1 Hip Honors in 2007 and again in 2018 at the 3rd Black Music Honors.