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Questlove + Baratunde Thurston Talk Future, Soul Train + The Responsibility of the Creative

Photo of Questlove + Baratunde Thurston event taken by Ann Thuy Nguyen for Okayplayer.

“Yes, The Roots can’t come back with no upbeat shit, not right now,” an audience member asserted to a friend as they walked out of the Pratt Institute‘s Memorial Hall Auditorium.

The overheard conversation took place after leaving the debut installation of the art school’s Conversations on Creativity with Questlove. The free and public discussion series featured The Roots‘ iconic polymath which took listeners and debaters with him inside the heads of influential artists. Last night, Questlove engaged comedian and writer Baratunde Thurston of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah fame about some intriguing topics.

Questo himself questioned his own motivations for making The Roots’ next studio album. Initially, he hoped to return to the feel good, “rhyming for the sake of riddling” from the band’s earlier discography, but he realized that this political moment may not allow him to. This edition of the new Pratt conversations centered on what motivates the creative, especially in references (The Partridge FamilyTom Selleck) that went over the heads of its millennial attendees. It also didn’t take long for the moderator, author Ben Greenman, to address “the elephant in the country”: the tangerine-tinted ruler of the free world.

“Trump is a revealer more than he is a thing unto himself,” Baratunde commented. He even credits our 45th president with moving him from a place of thought provoking rhetoric to action prompting movement.

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