The 13th annual Roots Picnic is still going to take place in 2020, but it will be presented in a dramatically different way due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Thought, Questlove and The Roots crew have teamed up with Michelle Obama’s nonprofit When We All Vote to stage a virtual edition of the festival on June 27.
Despite being entirely virtual this year, major Hip Hop, R&B and gospel acts have been booked for the broadcast experience, which will stream live on YouTube. Performers include The Roots, Lil Baby, SZA, Roddy Ricch, EarthGang, Kirk Franklin, Snoh Aalegra, G Herbo, Polo G, D Nice, H.E.R. and Musiq Soulchild.
Throughout the event, volunteers for When We All Vote will be texting voters via Outvote, a web and mobile organizing platform used to reach unregistered voters. The goal is to reach 500,000 eligible voters.
“Historically, Questlove and Black Thought have always been very active participants in the voting process,” The Roots’ manager and Live Nation Urban president Shawn Gee said in a press release. “However, I felt that it was imperative that this year I open up both The Roots and my Live Nation Urban platforms as vehicles for both voter education and voter registration.”
He added, “Our goal is to aggressively impact change and we’re going to have some fun while doing so. This year, we are incredibly proud to partner with Mrs. Obama’s When We All Vote to ensure our audience has the resources they need to register and vote in November’s election.”
The Roots Picnic 2020 will be hosted by Black Thought, Questlove and Michelle Obama. Tracee Ellis Ross, Janelle Monáe, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Paul, Tom Hanks, Liza Koshy, Kerry Washington and Elaine Welteroth will make special guest appearances during the livestream.
This year’s Roots Picnic was originally supposed to take place at Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park on May 30 but due to the coronavirus, the traditional version of the annual event had to be postponed until 2021.
For 2020’s online event, viewers can RSVP for the virtual festival here and register to volunteer for the voter outreach here. Catch the livestream on The Roots’ official YouTube channel beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on June 27.
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This year, in partnership with Michelle Obama’s (@michelleobama) national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, When We All Vote (@whenweallvote), The Roots (@theroots) are launching the 13th Annual Roots Picnic (@rootspicnic) as a virtual broadcast experience on Saturday, June 27th, exclusively on YouTube. The event is Executive Produced by Shawn Gee (Live Nation Urban), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (@questlove) Tarik Trotter (Two One Five Entertainment) (@blackthought) and Dan Parise (DPS). Hosted by Questlove, Black Thought and Michelle Obama, the picnic will be filled with amazing performances by a diverse group of young, highly popular hip hop, R&B and gospel artists with the goal of engaging and reaching 500,000 eligible voters. When We All Vote volunteers will sign up to text voters throughout the show through Outvote, a web and mobile organizing platform used to reach unregistered voters. In addition to music, this event will include pre-recorded segments with musicians, athletes, social media influencers, When We All Vote Co-Chairs and The Roots sharing one simple call to action, register to vote. Fans can subscribe to The Roots Official YouTube Channel and tune into the broadcast stream by hitting the link in our bio (yt.be/music/rootspicnic). The partnership comes from a shared ethos of wanting to reach the most underrepresented community of people when it comes to voting, black people between the ages of 21-35. Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote and The Roots have a common goal, to educate and inspire communities to use their voices and vote to make a difference. Starting TODAY and continuing throughout the broadcast, there will be a call to action to allow fans to register to vote at https://weall.vote/rootspicnic or by texting ROOTS to 56005.* Throughout the broadcast this will be available in the form of a link in the live chat section allowing fans to register to vote in real time while enjoying the show. We look forward to this celebration with you! 🎶🗳