The Roots Are Honored With An Induction Into Philadelphia's Walk Of Fame
Photos by Blaire Monroe for Okayplayer
Since before their inception as the greatest Hip-Hop/Neo-Soul band of our time, The Roots have always carried their hometown, Philadelphia, on their backs. Even since they’ve been launched into the stratosphere of superstardom, they have always remained faithful to their city. Whether it’s throwing the country’s largest free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway every 4th of July, running one of the city’s favorite music festivals every summer or hosting the annual charity concert Let’s Move it Philly - they have made sure that their city feels these positive impacts.
Yesterday (Oct. 26), the City of Brotherly Love made sure that their hometown heroes’ efforts would remain forever immortalized by inducting them into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame alongside Billie Holiday, the Trammps, Andrea McArdle (the original "Annie" on Broadway), Harvey Holiday, Cinderella, and Ray Benson.
The Philly Walk of Fame was created by the Philadelphia Music Alliance - a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philly as one of the nation's oldest and most prolific music capitals. It features over 100 bronze plaques commemorating Philly-based musicians and music professionals who have made a significant contribution to the world of music. Along with yesterdays inductees, the Walk of Fame features Boyz II Men, Marian Anderson, Chubby Checker, John Coltrane, Patti LaBelle, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Delfonics and more.
Dozens and dozens of people gathered in front of The Kimmel Center to show support for the newest honorees.
“We’re proud and lucky to have all of today’s heroes as ambassadors for our great city, thank you for your artistry,” The city’s Mayor, Michael Nutter, announced before The Roots’ representatives Questlove, Black Thought and Kamal Gray rose up to unveil their plaque.
For Philadelphia rapper, Chill Moody, the ceremony was inspirational. “It’s something to look forward to,” he told Okayplayer exclusively. “Knowing that the city actually does take care of it’s own - supports it’s own. Being an artist myself, this is really something to aspire to.”
Music fans were equally as encouraged by the ceremony.
“It’s just the icing on the cake for Philadelphia music and The Roots’ career,” One of RECphilly’s founders, Dave Silver, beamed, “They represent Philadelphia from top to bottom and for them to be honored here is just another one of their major accomplishments that proves that they are one of the best groups in Philadelphia and in history in general. Just seeing that they always come back and do all of these great things - it’s just awesome that they’re being honored today and that they’ll be here forever on The Walk.”
After the plaques were revealed, The Roots crew had to quickly rush back to NYC to film an early taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Before he departed, Questlove - whose father, doo-wop singer Lee Andrews, was inducted into the Walk of Fame 25 years ago - was gracious enough to offer a quick statement about how privileged he felt to be celebrated by his city.
“To grow up next to Philly International Records and see - you know - the rich history of Philadelphia, this is really an honor”.
On the following pages, click through our slideshow to see images from The Roots' induction to Philadelphia's prestigious Walk of Fame.
Blaire Monroe is an online content producer who can also be found putting in work for MTV.