Theater Review : Questlove, Kennedy Center


Music fanatics were in for a treat on November 13, 2021, when Ahmir “Questlove" Thompson discussed his book Music Is History. Questlove: Music Is History is part of The Roots Residency at the world-famous Kennedy Center. The event took place inside the Terrace Theater portion of The Kennedy Center, allowing for a more intimate experience.


Harnessing his encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and American history, award-winning musician, producer, director, and best-selling author Questlove engages in an intimate, insightful discussion of his new book; MUSIC IS HISTORY. Best-selling author Ben Greenman joins The Roots frontman as moderator of this fascinating conversation.


After the venue provided the audience with signed copies of the book, Questlove & Ben

Greenman began the conversation. Over the course of ninety minutes, both gentlemen displayed an organic back and forth conversation. One of the show's highlights for me was hearing Questlove speak on how as a child, he heard Stevie Wonder's classic 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life, out of order. As you know, that particular album starts with "Love's in Need of Love Today," but as a child, Questlove thought, "Isn't She Lovely was the first song he heard that one first.


Other antecedes of the night included his appreciation for It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the second studio album from Public Enemy, and how it played a part in his decision to enter music. Questlove also took humorous jabs at The Bar-Kays and Dr. Dre's groundbreaking solo debut, The Chronic. What I enjoyed most about the night was hearing Questlove's reasoning for not liking certain music but understanding that sometimes, as a DJ, he has to play what the people want to hear. As a former DJ myself, I know the feeling all too well.

As the night came to a close, Questlove informed the audience that The Roots are back in the studio, and following the overwhelmingly positive response to his directorial debut, Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), he has more documentaries in the works.


Final Grade: A

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