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Contest: Win Tickets To The 7th Annual Roots Picnic

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • April 22, 2014
    • 5th Annual Roots Picnic
      • 5th Annual Roots Picnic
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC

Iconic hip-hop band and Philly's own The Roots are keeping busy performing daily as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon —  but they always make sure to kick off the summer in their hometown.

The Legendary Roots Crew will be taking over Festival Pier in Philly once again with their signature music festival — the Roots Picnic aka one of the dopest shows you'll catch all year. 

Two stages. A lineup handpicked by The Roots with some of the hottest names in music — from hip-hop to indie to R&B and more. And, The Roots sitting in as the houseband for some of the acts for onstage collabs. Trust us, this is a must-hit event. 

Want to be there? We've got you. Enter for a chance to score a pair of tickets below. Click here for the official rules.

The Lineup

The Roots
Snoop Dogg (backed by The Roots)
Janelle Monae
A$AP Ferg
Action Bronson
araabMUZIK
The War On Drugs
Rudimental
Jhene Aiko
Biz Markie (DJ Set)
Bad Rabbits
Electric Wire Hustle
Just Blaze
Chill Moody
Emily Wells
Roman GianArthur


The Details

The 7th Annual Roots Picnic
When: Saturday, May 31
Where: Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street
More Info: Grab your tickets here

Insider Tip: Grab tickets and book a room. There will be events happening the night before and after the Picnic. Look out for our complete guide for everything to do Roots Picnic weekend


The Contest

Since you're already here entering for a chance to win tickets, check out our exclusive video from last year's Roots Picnic below.


Philly 360° Exclusive: Behind The Scenes With Project Runway Winner Dom Streater

  • Posted By: Jared Michael Lowe
  • April 2, 2014
    • Behind the street with Dom Streater
      • Behind the street with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. King for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. King for Philly 360/Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. King for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. King for Visit Philadelphia / Philly 360
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. King for Philly 360/Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
    • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Behind the scenes with Dom Streater
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360 / Visit Philadelphia
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Since winning Season 12 of the hit television show Project Runway, Philly’s own Dominque “Dom” Streater has officially been named the city's next "it-girl."

From showcasing her Fall 2014 collection during Philly Fashion Week and reppin' our city at New York Fashion Week to setting up her design studio blocks away from South Street, Dom has been on the go. Yet, the in-demand 25 year-old designer doesn’t seem to let the frenzy of a busy schedule slow her down at all. 

We recently caught up with Streater at her studio to talk about her growing, Philly-based empire and the "butterflies" she feels every time a model hits the runway wearing one of her garments. Dom even gives us the deets about her latest collection entitled Prima, which was inspired by a vintage photograph of famed Russian ballerina, Ana Pavlova. 

You can check out Philly 360°'s exclusive interview with the burgeoning fashion designer below!


Here's our exclusive behind the scenes video with Project Runway winner Dom Streater. 


The Roots Announce The Lineup For The 7th Annual Roots Picnic

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • March 6, 2014
    • Contest: Enter To Win Tickets To The Roots Picnic
      • Contest: Enter To Win Tickets To The Roots Picnic
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia/Philly 360
    • The 5th Annual Roots Picnic - Day 1
      • The 5th Annual Roots Picnic - Day 1
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC
    • The Roots
      • The Roots
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC
    • ?uestlove on the drums, Black Thought on the mic
      • ?uestlove on the drums, Black Thought on the mic
      • Photo Credit: Photo by M. Edlow for GPTMC
    • The Roots onstage at The Roots Picnic
      • The Roots onstage at The Roots Picnic
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC
    • The Roots Picnic
      • The Roots Picnic
      • Photo Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC
    • The Roots Picnic
      • The Roots Picnic
      • Photo Credit: Photo by M. Kennedy for GPTMC
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The Legendary Roots Crew may be everywhere these days, including playing as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but the iconic hip-hop band always brings it back to their hometown of Philadelphia.

The Roots are once again taking over Festival Pier in Philly this summer with their signature music festival — the Roots Picnic. That's right. The 7th Annual Roots Picnic was just announced, and we have all of the details for you to start making some plans. 

The Roots handpick the entire lineup, and it's always packed with some of the hottest names in music — from hip-hop to indie to R&B and more. The Roots always deliver year after year. You never know what's about to go down at the Picnic. Last year, we got to see history made when legendary hip-hop group Naughty By Nature reunited. And, then there was the random water gun fight with Solange. Or, that time when there was an impromptu dance party with Diplo in the second stage tent when rain tried to stop the Picnic. And, not to mention surprise guests hitting the stage every year. They always have them, and it's always epic.

Want to be there? We've got you. Be on the look out for some ticket giveaways from us on philly360.com. And, if you're headed to Austin for SXSW, we're giving away a pair of tickets and a weekend in Philly for the Roots Picnic. You can find us at Death and Taxes and Visitphilly.com Present East End on Thursday, March 13, at Cheer Up Charlie's. Chill Moody and some other Philly acts will be hitting our stage. 

So, who made the cut this year for the lineup? 

The Lineup

The Roots
Snoop Dogg (backed by The Roots)
Janelle Monae
A$AP Ferg
Action Bronson
araabMUZIK
The War On Drugs
Rudimental
Jhene Aiko
Biz Markie (DJ Set)
Bad Rabbits
Electric Wire Hustle
Just Blaze
Chill Moody
Emily Wells
Roman GianArthur

(More to be announced)

The Details

The 7th Annual Roots Picnic
When: Saturday, May 31
Where: Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street
More Info: Grab your tickets here

Insider Tip: Grab tickets and book a room. There will be events happening the night before and after the Picnic. Details to come.


Check out Questlove's official video announce for this year's lineup.  

 

Then watch Philly 360°'s video recap of last year's Roots Picnic video below.


Philly 360° Rewind: Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy

  • Posted By: Ashley Coleman
  • February 26, 2014
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: d. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Grammy-nominated producer Ivan Barias at Who Do You Love… More?
      • Grammy-nominated producer Ivan Barias at Who Do You Love… More?
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • wdyl4
      • wdyl4
    • Philly Music Scene
      • Philly Music Scene
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
    • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Who Do You Love… More? Featuring Chill Moody, Beano & Hank McCoy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly
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Earlier this month, the vision of indie hip-hop artist Chill Moody, his cousin and producer Hank McCoy and R&B singer Beano came to life during the release party for their 12-track album "Who Do You Love … More?". It all went down at living rock 'n' roll museum and international dining destination Hard Rock Café Philadelphia.

The trio pulled out all the stops, from roses to the red carpet, to introduce this latest effort to their growing fan base — most of which dressed in their finest black tie attire to check out the show. Plenty of familiar faces from Philly's elite creative scene were spotted taking a stroll on the red carpet, including GRAMMY-nominated producer Ivan Barias, HOT 107.9 radio personality Laiya St. Clair, blogger Syreeta Martin and fellow rap artist Antwan Davis

DJ Ricochetalso known as "The Untouchable Technician," kept the crowd moving while eager fans waited to hear their favorite songs from the album. CJ & Evan, Jacqueline Constance and Kid Felix were a few of the invited performers that were enlisted to help warm up the stage before the main event.

Backed by Band for Higher, Chill and Beano took their already legendary stage presence to new heights. They laid it all out on the Hard Rock stage and showed us exactly why you can’t talk about the current state of Philly music without mentioning these two.  

The duo performed the album in its entirety and were joined on stage by the occasional guest. From new songs like “LastNightinTown” to old favorites like “What’s for Breakfast,” they kept the crowd rocking through storytelling, and by just having a great time on stage. No doubt the chemistry between these three music masterminds will fuel more dope albums to come.

Of course, Philly 360° is bringing you exclusive footage from the night’s festivities. Take a look at the recap below. 


Watch Philly 360°'s exclusive video recap of Who Do You Love... More? with Chill Moody, Beano and Hank McCoy. 


Video: Chill Moody's Girls Like Nicethings Carnival & Concert

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • December 31, 2013
    • Bridget Kelly
      • Bridget Kelly
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • Brianna Cash
      • Brianna Cash
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • GoGo Morrow
      • GoGo Morrow
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • Mylah
      • Mylah
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • Iconik
      • Iconik
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • Chill Moody
      • Chill Moody
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
    • Iconik
      • Iconik
      • Photo Credit: Embacy Photography
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Philly MC Chill Moody hosted a carnival-themed concert under his signature brand "nicethings." His indoor carnival and all-female show was called Girls Like nicethings.

And, Chill delivered. He packed Union Transfer full of fun nicethings, like an aerial dancer aka "the nicethings fairy," Iconik drill team, carnival games, a photobooth, carnival food and of course, music.

The show featured Roc Nation’s Bridget Kelly along with performances by Mylah, GoGo Morrow and Brianna Cash. The ladies took over the stage and filled the room with female empowerment. 

Watch the video below to check out Girls Like nicethings for yourself.


Philly 360° Rewind: Made In Philly Featuring DJ Aktive, Marsha Ambrosius, MPrynt, Asia Sparks, Phoenix, Jade Alston & More

  • Posted By: Ashley Coleman
  • October 2, 2013
    • Made in Philly: Phoenix
      • Made in Philly: Phoenix
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • MPrynt
      • MPrynt
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Fah of MPrynt
      • Made in Philly: Fah of MPrynt
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: DJ Aktive
      • Made in Philly: DJ Aktive
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Marsha Ambrosius signing Ivben Taqiy's painting of her
      • Made in Philly: Marsha Ambrosius signing Ivben Taqiy's painting of her
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Ivben Taqiy
      • Ivben Taqiy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Asia Sparks
      • Made in Philly: Asia Sparks
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Chase Allen
      • Made in Philly: Chase Allen
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Jade Alston
      • Made in Philly: Jade Alston
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Khemist
      • Made in Philly: Khemist
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Al 1Thing
      • Made in Philly: Al 1Thing
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Frenchie
      • Made in Philly: Frenchie
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Spade-O
      • Made in Philly: Spade-O
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Gillie da Kid
      • Made in Philly: Gillie da Kid
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Bamboo
      • Made in Philly: Bamboo
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Beano
      • Made in Philly: Beano
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • Made in Philly: Ley Joans
      • Made in Philly: Ley Joans
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
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The Made in Philly concert made it evident that there has definitely been a resurgence of artistry here in Philadelphia. It seems that there has been a calm waiting to see who will be the next big name in music from this area, and this show made it clear that it won’t be long. 

I made my way to The Blockley to check out the sizeable lineup put together by DJ Aktive and Earl Chandler LLC.

Alliance was the backing band for the evening, and DJ Aktive played host and also dipped behind the turntables every now and again. DJ R to DA IZZA held it down in between.

There was a wide array of music from hip-hop to R&B to pop, everyone came out and gave everything almost to say, we deserve next! Bamboo caught my attention with his soulful vibe and reminded me of the last booming era in Philly music that birthed Jill Scott, Kindred the Family Soul, and many more. His song “Good Vibrations” had me singing along! 

Frenchie gave a high energy performance as she sang and danced her way into the hearts of the audience members who were rocking alongside her. She even did a body popping, hair whipping dance number to Ciara’s “I’m Out” featuring Nicki Minaj.

I was excited to see MPrynt hit the stage and from their intro with the hook from “Holy Grail” they had everyone paying attention. Great harmonies and stage presence, these guys were definitely a crowd favorite. Phoenix gave a sultry performance ending with a super-charged rendition of "1+1" by Beyoncé, and Jade Alston made her first return to the stage after being diagnosed with a heart condition, which prevented her from performing most of the summer.

There were also rapid fire lyrics and hard-hitting production in performances by Ape Gang, R.I.C.H. Club and Asia Sparks, who closed the show and tore the stage down.   

Many artists came out just in support including Marsha Ambrosius, Beano, Man-Man, and more. I think it’s safe to say that the performers were saying to this city and everyone else that they deserve a spot on the world’s stage. 

Watch the video below. 


Philly 360° Exclusive: Never Before Seen Video Of Marsha Ambrosius Interviewing Robert Glasper

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • September 3, 2013
    • Robert Glasper and Marsha Ambrosius
      • Robert Glasper and Marsha Ambrosius

Here's some never before seen footage from this year's Roots Picnic that was too good for us not to share with you. When we were backstage at the Picnic, our friend Laiya St.Clair of Hot 107.9 ended up getting an exclusive of Marsha Ambrosius interviewing Robert Glasper in our Philly 360° Twenty Grand Lounge. 

Watch it here.


Philly 360° Behind The Scenes: Luke James

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • August 15, 2013
    • Luke James
      • Luke James
      • Photo Credit: D. Alfaro for GPTMC/Philly 360°

Luke James: Beyonce hand-picked him as the opening act for her tour. He was nominated for a GRAMMY before his album came out. And, we've loved catching his shows when he's performed in Philly.

So, when the talented R&B singer and Def Jam artist was in town for the Mrs. Carter World Tour, we were hype to sit down with him for an interview. He stopped through The Lab Philly  with Philly's own Moshay LaRen.

See what he has to say about recording with Jazmine Sullivan, his music and of course, Philly. Plus, the singer hit us with a few vocals. Watch the video below.


Philly 360° Video Rewind: The City Featuring Sterling Simms, GoGo Morrow & More

  • Posted By: Sarah Janiszewski
  • August 2, 2013
    • The City festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms
      • The City festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms and Q-Deezy
      • The City festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms and Q-Deezy
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza - Cody Wise
      • The City Festival at The Piazza - Cody Wise
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza - Brandon Pankey
      • The City Festival at The Piazza - Brandon Pankey
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza - GoGo Morrow
      • The City Festival at The Piazza - GoGo Morrow
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City festival at The Piazza - GoGo Morrow
      • The City festival at The Piazza - GoGo Morrow
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City festival at The Piazza
      • The City festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City festival at The Piazza
      • The City festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City festival at The Piazza
      • The City festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • The City Festival at The Piazza
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
    • The City Festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms
      • The City Festival at The Piazza - Sterling Simms
      • Photo Credit: D. McDowell for GPTMC/Philly 360°
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The Roots’ camp brought us two days packed with events to celebrate Independence Day in Philly. They kicked off the party with “The City”, an all-day music and fashion festival at The Piazza in Northern Liberties, hosted by Hot 107.9 radio personality and Fox 29 Entertainment correspondent Q-Deezy and Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Brandon Pankey.

Many of Philly's up and comers took the stage and showed off why Philly is a city known for its music scene - including Interscope Records’ Cody Wise, Modern Inventors, Bok Nero, headliner GoGo Morrow and more. RCA Records recording artist Sterling Simms even surprised the crowd when he hit the stage for an impromtu performance. See the full breakdown of who performed here.

In between music sets, festival goers were treated to runway shows from Philly Fashion Week designers.

And of course, vendors lined The Piazza to give the crowd a taste of Philly including Kings Rule Together, Jr. Music Exec, Neo Daviso, These Pink Lips, Blues Babe Foundation, Anbrea's and more.

Check out the video below to see how the Philly Fourth of July Jam got kicked off. 


Philly 360° Exclusive: Q&A With BlackStar Mastermind Maori Karmael Holmes

  • Posted By: James Claiborne
  • July 26, 2013
    • BlackStar Film Festival
      • BlackStar Film Festival
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of blackstar

Last year, Philly became home to another first, as Philly 360° Creative Ambassaor Maori Karmael Holmes successfully launched the inaugural BlackStar Film Festival. People from around the country gathered in Philly to experience the wonder of black cinema, and Ebony even hailed the event as Philly's own "Black Sundance".  #bigwin

Next month, we're hype to announce that BlackStar is returning—bigger and better than before. Philly 360° caught up with Maori for an exclusive interview, just as she and her powerhouse team are putting the finishing touches on this year's festivities. Maori gives us the inside scoop on the festival venues, can't-miss films, and her three favorite black films of all time! 

You can checkout our insider interview with Maori below. Also, be sure to visit blackstarfest.org to view the full festival line-up, and purchase tickets online today! 


Philly 360° Exclusive Interview with BlackStar's Maori Karmael Holmes! 

    • Philly 360° creative ambassador: Maori Karmael Holmes
      • Philly 360° creative ambassador: Maori Karmael Holmes
      • Photo Credit: Photo by L. Whitaker for GPTMC
    • BlackStar Film Festival: Nairobi Half Life
      • BlackStar Film Festival: Nairobi Half Life
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlackStar
    • Brother From Another Planet featuring King Britt
      • Brother From Another Planet featuring King Britt
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlackStar
    • BlackStar Film Festival: Question Bridge
      • BlackStar Film Festival: Question Bridge
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlackStar
    • BlackStar Film Festival: TEY
      • BlackStar Film Festival: TEY
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlackSTar
    • BlackStar Film Festival: Mother of George
      • BlackStar Film Festival: Mother of George
      • Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlackSTar
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Philly 360°: BlackStar is back for its second year, and was recently hailed as "TheBlack Sundance" by Ebony Magazine.  That's amazing! How rewarding is it to create this platform for black cinema here in Philly? 

Maori: Creating BlackStar was by accident, but a wondrous accident. Producing it has been amazing for me personally and professionally. I continue to meet and connect with awesome folks in Philadelphia and beyond who care deeply about promoting the work of folks of color.


Philly 360°: Well, Philly is definitely buzzing about this year's festival, and most certainly showed up in mass for last year's festival. What do you love most about presenting BlackStar here in Philly? 

Maori: That's exciting to hear that there's a buzz. It feels really good. Philadelphia is the home of so many "firsts" in American history and this idea of independence and a DIY/indie aesthetic is in our bones, so in many ways there is no other place that could house a festival like ours. The ourpouring of support from community partners, sponsors, and audience is tremendous and we feel so much love and gratitude.

I am also really excited about having a niche neighborhood festival primarily in University City. You will be able to walk from City Tap House to Drexel and International House and the Sheraton and back in under 5 minutes. It is really cool to be set up in that way.


Philly 360°: Can you give us the big picture view on this year's festival? How many films are you presenting? And, are there any exciting new programs or events this year? 

Maori: We have basically doubled in size. We are presenting 75 films in three venues. We have a screenplay competition with a $2,500 cash prize and we have an awards ceremony and for the first time an awards competition including audience awards. As part of our awards we are honoring the Howard University film program.


Philly 360°: Tell us about the venues for this year's festival - any exciting new places or partnerships?  

Maori: International House of Philadelphia is one of the best places to see film in the city. The screen, projection, and audio, as well as their staff are top-notch and amazing to work with. They will continue to be our festival hub. We have an additional site at Drexel University through our new partnership with the Africana Studies Program, as well we are presenting a program at The Barnes Foundation and hosting an opening night reception at City Tap House


Philly 360°:  Okay, I know you and the Blackstar team have curated an amazing line-up of black films this year. If you had to give us a few highlights, or not-to-be-missed movies—what would they be?  

Maori: Did I say there were 75 films?!! Some of our highlights are our evening features of course--Tey, Nairobi Halflife, Mother of George, and Question Bridge: Black Males. I am also really excited about  the Arts Shorts at The Barnes and our Youth Program.


Philly 360°:  The Brother From Another Planet (Re-contextualized) w/ Live Score at Johnny Brenda's sounds like an amazing experience. How did this concept come about? Who are the masterminds behind this genius production? Tell us!

Maori: King and I are friends (and in the same class of Philly 360° Creative Ambassadors). At a dinner party last year we came up with this idea to collaborate for the festival around a loose idea based on Afrofuturism. We wanted to do something at Johnny Brendas, another fantastic venue, and King came up with the remix event and enlisted his collaborators, Marlo Reynolds, Anthony Tidd, Jason Senk, and Damon Bennett.


Philly 360°:  Any other special appearances this year? Notable filmmakers? Actors? Actresses? 

Maori: We are excited to have lots of filmmakers this year. Notably Omari Hardwick (Things Never Said), Haile Gerima, Bradford Young (Mother of George), Andrew Dosonmu (Mother of George), Dennis Dortch (Black & Sexy TV), Numa Perrier (The Couple), Yolonda Ross (Yelling to the Sky), Tanya Wright (True Blood), Lisa Cortés (Precious), Tariq Trotter, Dorian Missick (Big Words), and Muhammida El Muhajjir (Hip Hop: The New World Order). 


Philly 360°: Okay, let's end on a fun note As a filmmaker and Philly's reigning expert on black cinema name your top three black films of all time? The Wiz is a given right?Or, is that just me? 

Maori: The Wiz is amazing and phenomenal in so many ways, but for me as a filmmaker, the top three black films that shaped me are--although that list could easily go on to 10 or 20.  Eve's Bayou, Daughters of the Dust, and Sankofa. 

 

You can learn more about BlackStar, and view the entire festival schedule by visiting www.blackstarfest.org.  


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