The Roots & Friends Set To Rock Philly's 4th of July Jam Amidst Controversy?
The Roots are set to rock the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia this Friday for the annual Philly 4th Of July Jam. The event boasts performances from an all-star lineup of some of the biggest names in music today, including Aloe Blacc, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran. The Independence Day performance - a highly-anticipated event, which draws record crowds in The Roots' hometown every year - is being criticized by some, for what they feel is a less than patriotic bill. The less than popular opinion suggests that the show would ultimately be better without the presence of both Sheeran and Minaj, who were born outside of the U.S. in the UK and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively. The Roots recently offered a pretty diplomatic response to ABC News regarding the complaints:
Questlove says British singer Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, were chosen for a particular reason.
"I mean, but aren't they the biggest artists right now? So that means America has spoken," he told ABC News Radio last week inside Kellogg’s Recharge Bar, a New York City event sponsored by the cereal maker.
Lead MC Black Thought added that picking performers was an arduous task that took months.
"It's like a long process," he explained. "We pick a handful of artists that we already have a relationship with in some way, shape or form and we kind of just narrow it down from a wish list at the beginning of the year until we get to the final."
Though the idea of foreigners performing in the U.S. on the 4th of July may pose a problem for some, the majority of faithful attendees will still be crowding the Parkway for the free annual event. If anything is unpatriotic about this event, it is the idea that anyone would object to the inclusion of people from other nations in a country founded, built by and continuing to benefit from the contributions of immigrant populations. The jam will be simulcast again this year by VH1 and Palladia. The event will also be streaming live via the VH1 app and at VH1.com. Check your local listings for broadcast details. Get more on the Wawa Welcome America festivities and the 4th of July Jam via visitphilly.com. Check the footage below to watch the promo for the jam. Stay tuned for more.