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Aloe Blacc on being a Panamanian patriot

Aloe Blacc says the fireworks of July 4 have special meaning for his family, which came to the U.S. from Panama.

Blacc is just one of the many performers on the Fourth in Philadephia. Prior to the main stage, up-and-coming regional talent and locals, including the Phosphenes, Donn T, Mozaic Flow, Al 1 Thing and Brianna Cash, play the Questlove stage on the Parkway from noon to 6 p.m. / FilmMagic Aloe Blacc is happy to embrace July 4 festivities.
Credit: FilmMagic

For many of us, the Fourth of July means barbecues, block parties and fireworks.

But for rising star Aloe Blacc, who is playing the Garden July 2 and is featured in the Philly 4th of July Jam starring The Roots, the barbecues and fireworks of his youth in Southern California meant more for him and his family.

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“My parents and my family are from Panama,” Blacc says. “[The Fourth of July] was a special [day] because they were celebrating being American and having that experience of coming to this country to make a better life for themselves and their family.”

Blacc, the voice of Avicii’s 2013 heavy rotation hit “Wake Me Up,” was born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III.

“My parents ... didn’t have a Civil Rights movement, so black folks had trouble getting jobs,” Blacc says. “There was a lot of discrimination all throughout Central and South America, and there still is. They came to the U.S. where they’re obviously socially forward and getting with the times and being respectful to humanity.”

It’s been a big 12 months for Blacc, from the exposure of “Wake Me Up” to his current hit, the stirring and soulful “The Man.”

“‘Wake Me Up’ was a huge opportunity to introduce my voice and my songwriting to a lot of people, and it was a great way to follow up with that,” says Blacc.

He first emerged as a rapper and scored a minor hit with 2010’s “I Need a Dollar,” which was used as the theme song for HBO’s “How to Make It in America.” And now he’s playing with The Roots backing him. Looks like he has made it in America.

If you go
Bruno Mars
with Aloe Blacc
July 2, 8
TD Garden
100 Legends Way, Boston
$56-$143, 617-624-1000
www.tdgarden.com

 
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