The Roots' percussionist Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and rapper/singer Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter got their performing start on the sidewalks of South Street. Now they're getting their own mural on "the hippest street in town."
"Those were great times," ?uestlove told me last summer, as the group was helping put together the big July 4th Welcome America bash on the Parkway. "We'd go down after school (at CAPA) or on Saturday and perform until we'd made enough to buy a Wawa hoagie and soda." And even years later, "me and Tariq were still giggling like kids," he added, at the mere memory of it all, when the guys got to hang at the Welcome America festivities with show sponsoring execs from Wawa.
Now they're getting major props from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, too. Come Wednesday morning, program director Jane Golden will announce "The Roots Mural Project" - a tableaux that will "tell the story of The Roots - especially Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson and Tariq 'Black Thought' Trotter's founding of the band - from the genesis to the present day." (Including winning Grammys last year, and maybe this coming Sunday night, too?)
The formal announcement is planned for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at 600 South Street - where there's at least one very large, ugly wall just begging for a makeover. Artistic team representative Ernel Martinez and South Street Headhouse District board chair Joette Adams are also on the speaker list. But how can they get this party started, as part of February's Black History Month, without you-know-who in attendance, too?