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GrassROOTS: Black Thought Wants Young Girls To Grow Into Healthy Women.

February 20, 2013

BlackThoughtSB01Text and image by Sofiya Ballin.

We caught up with Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought of The Roots, on Saturday before a charity show called Let’s Move It Philly! at Sigma Sound. Proceeds from the night went to Trotter’s personal project, GrassROOTS Community Foundation, which assists young girls in Philadelphia.

Trotter launched the project in 2010 with his friend Janice Johnson Dias.

“The First Lady was launching her initiative, Let’s Move,” said Johnson Dias. “I thought it was a brilliant initiative but I thought there were a few things missing that I could lend my own efforts to. It hadn’t really been specifically targeted around poverty, which is the mother of all diseases, and had not asked the hip-hop community, who I think are dramatically effective because of the intersection of poverty and hip-hop.”

A sociologist who earned her Ph.D at Temple, Johnson Dias wanted a program that would teach girls to grow up as healthy women – physically and mentally. By raising smart women, you create a foundation for society. So she reached out to her neighbor, the frontman of The Roots.

“The Roots, we support a wide range of charities and their events but in all the years that we’ve been rocking out, there hasn’t been anything that’s been the charity The Roots gets behind,”Trotter said. “After seeing people misappropriate funds and people raising money and never seeing where it trickles down to, I wanted to be involved in something I could actually be about, as opposed to talking a good talk. “

GrassROOTS funds programs around the city. At Warren G. Harding Middle School, for instance, they run an after-school program called C.H.I.C.K.S., where at-risk children are taught to eat healthy and exercise as a form of developing healthy minds. The foundations hopes to operate in ten cities across the country soon.

We’ll have a lot more about GrassROOTS in the summer issue of JUMP, which will debut at The Roots Picnic. See pictures from their Saturday show here. There were a ton of Philly artists who performed, with unexpected appearances by Kindred the Family Soul and Freeway.

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