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The Roots Defend Picking Artists Not Born in US to Perform at Fourth of July Concert

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 09:30:00 +0000


(NEW YORK) -- Eyebrows were raised when two artists not born in the U.S.A. were chosen by The Roots to help Philadelphia celebrate Independence Day this year at the city's annual Welcome America! 4th of July Jam concert. Still, drummer Questlove says British singer Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, were chosen for a particular reason.

"I mean, but aren't they the biggest artists right now? So that means America has spoken," he told ABC News Radio last week inside Kellogg’s Recharge Bar, a New York City event sponsored by the cereal maker.

Lead MC Black Thought added that picking performers was an arduous task that took months.

"It's like a long process," he explained. "We pick a handful of artists that we already have a relationship with in some way, shape or form and we kind of just narrow it down from a wish list at the beginning of the year until we get to the final." 

Ariana Grande, Aloe Blacc, Jennifer Hudson and The Voice finalist Vicci Martinez will also take the stage July 4 at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the City of Brotherly Love. Of course, The Roots will also perform for their hometown crowd.

If you can't make it to Philly, the event will be simulcast on VH1 and Palladia from 8-11 p.m. ET and live streamed on PhillyJam.VH1.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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