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Governor Shapiro and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Present Proclamation Recognizing The Roots for Contributions to the Commonwealth’s Arts Legacy at the Sixteenth Roots Picnic


Philadelphia, PA – On Saturday, Governor Josh Shapiro and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) visited The Roots Picnic at the Mann Center in Fairmount Park to present The Roots with a proclamation recognizing the group for their storied contributions to music and impact on the Commonwealth's creative sector legacy. The proclamation also commemorated the sixteenth anniversary of The Roots Picnic. 

The Roots' cofounders, Ahmir “Questlove" Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought" Trotter, accepted the proclamation from the Governor, between sets by Nas and Funkmaster Flex. Emmai Alaquiva, PCA Vice Chair; longtime PCA Council member and Philadelphia resident, Susan Goldberg; and Karl Blischke, PCA Executive Director joined for the proclamation presentation, in appreciation of all that the Roots' have accomplished in Pennsylvania's creative sector.

“The Roots are an iconic group whose storied career includes platinum and gold records, Grammy awards, and performing at the White House – but true to their name, they always come home and give back to Philadelphia and our Commonwealth," said Governor Josh Shapiro. “On the 16th anniversary of the Roots picnic, I am proud to join the Council on the Arts to present a proclamation honoring The Roots' work, achievements, and contributions to our Commonwealth." 

Governor Shapiro's proclamation recognizes The Roots' electrifying live performances, broad cultural influence, and philanthropic work. The proclamation also credits the Roots' strong ties to Philadelphia, where they are widely beloved. The Roots' platinum and gold records and multiple Grammys also were noted, which Shapiro's proclamation cited as indicative of the group's work ethic, talent and communal spirit.

In the proclamation, Governor Shapiro cited long-time Philadelphia arts organizations, the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership and Mural Arts, for their respective influence on Thompson's and Trotter's youth and nurturing of their shared love of creativity and the arts.

In 2008, Thompson and Trotter co-founded The Roots Picnic with their manager, Shawn Gee, and have since grown the event to an annual, two-day festival that draws 65,000 people.

“The PCA supports the power of Pennsylvania's creative sector and its ability to strengthen our communities culturally, educationally, and economically, so we are truly thrilled to join Governor Shapiro in honoring the outstanding impact of The Roots, not only in Pennsylvania, but also nationally and internationally," said Susan S. Cohen, PCA Council Chair. “We are especially appreciative of Questlove's and Black Thought's creative journey, which began in Philadelphia and has grown into a lasting legacy."

“Dating back to my time on their Street Team in 1999, The Roots have provided not just a soundtrack but a source of inspiration and empowerment," said Emmai Alaquiva, PCA Vice Chair. “Their music, rich with lyrical depth and innovative sound, has been a guiding force through challenging times and a catalyst for my personal growth. Their commitment to authenticity and social consciousness has encouraged me to pursue my own passions with the same dedication and integrity."

“The Roots' many contributions to the creative landscape and to the vitality of our communities exemplify Pennsylvania's artistic spirit," said Karl Blischke, PCA Executive Director.

The mission of the PCA is to strengthen the cultural, educational and economic vitality of Pennsylvania's communities through the arts. By leveraging the immense power of Pennsylvania's arts and cultural sector—which annually contributes $30 billion to the state's economy— the PCA supports jobs, builds community, inspires lifelong learning, promotes the commonwealth nationally and internationally, and sparks innovation.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, please visit the website or follow PCA on Facebook.

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