The Roots are taking their Roots Picnic online this year, and they’re teaming up with former First Lady Michelle Obama to give the event an extra boost.
The 13th annual Roots Picnic will go virtual on June 27 on YouTube in partnership with Obama’s national, nonpartisan nonprofit When We All Vote.
The event — which was executive produced by Shawn Gee (Live Nation Urban), the Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik Trotter (Two One Five Entertainment) and Dan Parise (DPS) — will be hosted by Quest, Black Thoughts and Obama, with sets from The Roots, H.E.R., Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, SZA, Kirk Franklin, Snoh Aalegra, Earthgang, G Herbo, Polo G, D Nice and Musiq Soulchild (backed by The Roots).
There will also be appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Paul, Tom Hanks, Liza Koshy, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Janelle Monáe, and Elaine Welteroth.
The event will also feature pre-recorded messages from musicians, athletes and social media influencers.
“As we face one of the most challenging years for our nation, we could all use a moment of inspiration and light to help focus on what we can do to take action together — and that action is voting. When We All Vote is on a mission to change the culture around voting and we are committed to closing the age and race gap of those who show up at the ballot box, increasing participation in each and every election,” said When We All Vote managing director of communications and culture Stephanie L. Young in a statement. “To change the culture means we have to be in the culture, and iconic events like the The Roots Picnic, a celebration of the most influential artists of today, is just that.”
The event’s goal is to engage and reach 500,000 eligible voters, with When We All Vote volunteers signing up to text voters throughout the show through Outvote, a web and mobile organizing platform used to reach unregistered voters. Volunteers can sign-up to learn how to reach voters before the event here. Fans can subscribe to The Roots Official YouTube Channel and tune into the broadcast stream here.
“Historically, Questlove & Black Thought have always been very active participants in the voting process, 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,” said Shawn Gee, The Roots manager and President of Live Nation Urban in a statement. “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 annual Picnic in Fairmount Park has been postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.