Famed hip-hop outfit The Roots have recruited Michelle Obama to co-host the annual Roots Picnic, which is being presented virtually this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 event will be presented on YouTube June 27 rather than its standard takeover of Philadelphia neighborhoods. Obama’s national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization When We All Vote is partnering with the Roots Picnic in an effort to drive up voter registration. The organization has a goal of registering 500,000 eligible voters through a texting process demonstrated during the event.
“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’s Stephanie L. Young said in a statement. “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. To change the culture means we have to be in the culture, and iconic events like The Roots Picnic, a celebration of the most influential artists of today, is just that.”
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 16, 2020
The former first lady will join The Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought as co-hosts of the digital event while SZA, H.E.R., Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby and more are tapped to perform. Celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Hanks, Chris Paul, Kerry Washington and Janelle Monae will also appear.
This virtual presentation marks the 13th edition of the Roots Picnic.