Roots Manager, Producer Richard Nichols, Dies

richard nichols

Billboard reports that Roots manager and producer Richard Nichols passed away today in a hospital in Philadelphia after struggling with leukemia. The Roots issued the following statement:

The Roots Family are devastated to announce the passing of Richard Nichols, the band’s longtime manager, after a long battle with leukemia. Nichols, 55, a Philadelphia native, managed the band from its inception in 1992, and was instrumental in every aspect of The Roots’ creative, cultural, and professional life over the past two decades. Nichols is survived by his wife, Mercedes Martinez, his sons Amiri Nichols and Rakim Nichols, his sisters Rochelle Nichols-Solomon, Rebecca Dennis, his brothers Russell Nichols and Reginald Nichols, and the many individuals and artists he mentored in his lifetime.

Read the rest of Billboard’s report here.

 

The History of July 4th Parkway Concerts In Philadelphia

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Back in May, when we were writing about the announcement of this year’s 4th of July concert on the Parkway, we went looking for a list of all of the July 4th concerts in Philadelphia from the last 20 years. But we couldn’t find one. So, we dug deep into the archives to make our own list. Here, in the interest of of historical preservation, the last 20 years of July 4th concerts in Philadelphia. Read more »

Philadelphians Who Deserve Murals Instead of Kurt Vile

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On Saturday, a Philadelphian decided to buff the Kurt Vile mural, causing shrieks of horror from hip Philadelphians and a Philadelphia public art meme.

People have said the reaction is overblown, but (1) it’s good when people discuss and debate public art and (2) of course it is. Literally everything on the Internet, even the most serious issues, can get overblown — there’s no sense complaining about it. But, sure, this isn’t the nose of the Old Man in the Mountain collapsing — the defacer has already apologized and even the artist says you should calm down. ESPO, aka Steve Powers, was similarly undisturbed about psychylustro covering up. “Nobody writing [graffiti] cares and any attempt to make it appear otherwise is click bait,” he told Hidden City (the Buzzfeed of Philadelphia Buildings, I guess) in May.

That is a point to take: Graffiti by its very nature is a transient art form, and murals come and go, too. David Guinn — who has more good murals in the city than anyone — once had four seasons in South Philadelphia. Now there are only three. The enormous Frank Sinatra mural is gone. Both were covered up by new residential construction, which is a better use of space than a mural. This one just disappeared in a more fantastic fashion. (And, obviously, the uproar was so great that it will be fixed up.)

But the mural got me thinking. I have passed the Kurt Vile mural several times where someone comments about how — while it’s cool — the mural is also an ad for his latest album. That’s weird, no? Did we paint a Boyz II Men album in the mid-’90s? (Not that they needed the increased sales.) A mural that’s also an ad is not exactly the end of the world: We have a mural for Jane Seymour’s jewelry line, after all, and a Vile album ad is certainly a better choice than that. But it got me thinking about other Philadelphians who deserve a mural, perhaps ones who aren’t selling anything. Time for some jokes mixed in with real suggestions!

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Dice Raw Performing Free Show at Eastern State Penitentiary

Courtesy of Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins

Courtesy of Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins

Philly The Roots rapper Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins is coming to town next week to host a free talk and performance at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Dice Raw will discuss his new solo album, Jimmy’s Back. The work is inspired by Dr. Michelle Alexander’s New York Times bestseller The New Jim Crow, and focuses on America’s black male incarceration epidemic. According to a press release from ESP, “black men are overrepresented in America’s criminal justice system, incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of White men. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison in his lifetime.”

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WATCH: The Roots Ride Dr. Doom’s Fearfall

Yesterday, when posting a video of Philly comedian Kevin Hart riding a roller coaster with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, writer Victor Fiorillo made a suggestion: “Let’s get Questlove and Fallon to ride the vomit-inducing Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Great Adventure.”

This morning he gets his wish. Well sort of. Questlove and The Roots took their turn on the Universal Studios version of Zumanjaro: Dr. Doom’s Fearfall. And it was captured on tape and shown last night on The Tonight Show. Check out the clip above.

PHOTOS: 7th Annual Roots Picnic

 

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