THE ROOTS’ TARIQ “BLACK THOUGHT” TROTTER
Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, is an American rap artist and the lead singer/MC for the Philadelphia-based Hip-Hop group, The Roots. Trotter, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, is widely lauded for his complex and politically aware lyrical content, his sharply honed live performances, and his poignant acting roles.
Raised in South Philadelphia, he attended Philadelphia’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, where he met Thompson and formed the band the Square Roots. After gaining initial fame on Philadelphia’s famed South Street and performing at a string of local talent shows, they released their demo/debut, Organix (1993), under the more simplified moniker “The Roots”. Over time, Trotter’s narratives have become more personal and political in nature, and his talents have expanded into acting, modeling, and more.
Trotter has a history of using his art to contribute to social good. In 1994, The Roots appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, intended to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in the African-American community, was heralded as “Album of the Year” by Time. The band has been highly involved in many other Red Hot Organization productions including the 1998 album, Red Hot + Rhapsody, and the 2001 album, Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington. In addition, The Roots and John Legend opened the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2010. Currently, Trotter provides generous support to his own GrassRoots Community Foundation, as well as OkayAfrica,The Agent for Change Network, Artist for a New South Africa, and Harlem Village Academies.
In March 2009, under the leadership of Trotter and Thompson, The Roots became the house band for NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon show. The following year, they released their ninth studio album, How I Got Over, as well as Wake Up, a collaborative effort with R&B singer John Legend. In 2014, Trotter and The Roots assumed a new role as the house band for the new “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and put the finishing touches on their May 2014 album, And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. In August 2014, Trotter stars as band member Pee Wee Ellis in “Get On Up”, a blockbuster biopic about the life of soul legend James Brown.
Trotter, a world-traveler and self-proclaimed fashion aficionado, resides with his family in northern New Jersey.
The Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence is bestowed upon an artist who has achieved national or worldwide acclaim, embodies artistic achievement and serves as an inspiration to the Greater Philadelphia Region both as an artist and a leader.
THIS AWARD IS PRESENTED BY: