Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again, I love The Roots Picnic. It is, by far, my favorite music festival to attend with its mix of artists, podcasts and installations seemingly curated for Black music and culture lovers of all stripes. Since I host a podcast dedicated specifically to Black culture—Dear Culture (sponsored by Honda), you may have heard of it — it only made sense to take our talents to Philadelphia for Black Music Month and see if we could talk to some of the artists and creatives that represent the best and brightest of Black music.
Over the course of the two-day festival — I spent about 24 hours on festival grounds; I only left to sleep at the hotel — I rolled around the musical festival talking with artists like G Herbo, Durand Bernarr, CKay, Jordan Hawkins and Kur (among others) and a slew of folks at the festival about their experiences. With the homie Shaquan Battle doing the filming and scouting out patrons, we had the chance to really get a feel for the environment and the vibe from folks prompt and present at west Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. No word on if anybody we talked to was born or raised around there.
I hope you see what I did there.
It was great. I got to tell Durand Bernarr how much I love his song “Relocate” and talk to G Herbo about how my nephew told me that Herbo was a bridge artist between his generation of hip-hop (he’s 20) and mine (I’m 43 ). I got to see some amazing acts light up the various stages of the festival and see an endless sea of beautiful Blackness from high atop a hill at the iconic Roots Picnic installation that EVERYBODY wanted to take a picture next to.
Most importantly, we got a chance to celebrate Black music and culture during Black Music Month with thousands of folks who all came together to enjoy culture and music and celebrate the legendary Roots Crew and their continued contributions to not only Black music but music and history, overall.
The Roots Picnic owes us nothing. Cheers to another peaceful and joyous celebration of us.
Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest) but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest ).
Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download here.