After a very long two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Roots Picnic curated by festival co-founders Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is back and better than ever.

Roots Picnic

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This past weekend, The Mann in Philadelphia was filled with beautiful Black people, Black music, Black excellence – a powerful representation in honor of Black Music Month. Over 60,000 tickets were sold for the 15th annual festival. People were scattered everywhere, enjoying food from various local vendors, catching their favorite artists performing, laying their blankets on the lawn to soak up the sun, and snapping photos in front of a Roots Picnic sign or wall art. 

This year’s sizzling hot lineup attracted the Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z crowds. The burst of nostalgic energy had them saying,  “I grew up to this song” or “this my songggg”. 

Furthermore, the headliners ranged in age and genre, including Mary J. Blige, Kirk Franklin, The Roots, Summer Walker, Rick Ross, Wizkid, and more, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. 

There were so many dope sets and moments at this jam-packed music lover’s weekend. Here are our “Top 5 Moments From The Roots Picnic 2022.”:

  1. Tierra Whack Brings Out A Surprise Guest Star

During her set, the eclectic and energetic Philly-native rapper Tierra Whack brought out her little cousin on the stage. The audience “oooo’d” and “ahhhh’d” at how small and young he was, but lil’ man had a big personality trapped in that little body. Just like a grandmother or aunt who always tells you at cookouts:

“Show us that lil’ dance y’all kids be doing!” 

Tierra Whack

He did the popular Tik Tok dance “Shake That Sh*t,” and the crowd went wild. Everyone cheered him on, and he showed no signs of shyness when introducing himself on the microphone and calling the shots for when Whack’s next song started. Whack better watch out cause lil cuz is coming!

  1. Kirk Franklin Takes Us To Church And Recruits The Audience As His Choir

Kirk Franklin’s set may have started 20 minutes late, but the Texas pastor wasted no time consecrating the sanctuary and bringing his contagious upbeat energy to the stage. While performing, Kirk complimented the audience for harmonizing and sounding like an actual choir, so he began to direct while they sang his hit gospel tracks. Kirk paused the music and said,

 “Wait Wait Wait Stop Stop Stop….Ok Roots!!!I International Denomincational uhhhh Baptist Choir!!!” 

Kirk Franklin

He joked with the audience, saying, “Sometimes you smoke a lil’ weed, sometimes you don’t, but you get to church.” Everyone just busted out laughing, including Kirk. 

So there you have it, folks. He delivered to the Roots Picnic Kirk Franklin the pastor, Kirk the comedian, all while being Plies’ twin. Overall, Kirk gave a compelling, encouraging, and uplifting set.  Let the church say, “amen!”

  1. SWV Got Us SOHH “Weak”!

The R&B trio SWV’s Coko and Leonna took us all down memory lane and performed their R&B classic “Weak”. The whole crowd was rocking side to side singing the lyrics to the top of their lungs with SWV.  Leonna and Coko’s microphones were definitely on! Coko’s passionate belting during “Weak” brought us back in time. The nostalgic set lightened everyone’s mood even in the Philly heat. 

  1. Musiq Soulchild Sang His Soul Out

Musiq Soulchild gave the Roots Picnic a set to be reckoned with. Soulchild set was a full experience, with the singer performing his hit R&B classics “Love” “Halfcrazy,”and “sobeautiful. You could hear fans from the crowd singing “Loveeeeeee” off-key as loud as they could.

Musiq Soulchild

Musiq’s background singers didn’t miss a beat the whole time, providing the powerhouse R&B vocalist with soothing harmonies to complement his rich tone. Listening to Musiq’s set felt like eating a Sunday dinner after church;  everyone leaves feeling happy, tired from the “itis,” complete and fulfilled.

  1. Mary J. Blige Hits The “Milly Rock” While Rocking The Stage

Who else could close the night for Day 1 of the Roots Picnic other than the legendary Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige? Auntie Mary brought all the energy, the moves and the =42.BOOT like we knew she would. While dancing to her classic song, “What’s the 411?” she hit the “Milly Rock” dance on stage. Mary had the crowd lit for her while dancing and doing her signature moves rocking across the stage. 

Mary J. Blige

You just had to be there. It will go down in Hip-Hop history.