Aloe Blacc gets patriotic with The Roots for 4th of July Jam

Blacc is just one of the many performers on the Fourth. 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. Credit: FilmMagic
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

Barbecues, block parties, fireworks — it’s how many of us celebrate the Fourth of July.

Yet for rising star Aloe Blacc, who is featured in the annual Philly 4th of July Jam starring The Roots, the barbecues and fireworks of his youth in Southern California meant just a little something extra for him and his family.

“My parents and my family are from Panama,” Blacc says. “[The Fourth of July] was a special moment 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 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.


Joining in the Jam

The Jam will be broadcast live on VH1 and Palladia, and it is — not hyperbolically — being billed as the largest free concert in America.

The lineup includes The Roots, now the house band for “The Tonight Show,” Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, who until this summer you may have known as star of Nickelodeon’s “Sam & Cat,” but is making a different name for herself with “Problems” her collaboration with Iggy Azalea.


Philly 4th of July Jam and Fireworks
Friday, 7-11 p.m.
Broadcast at 8 p.m. on VH1 and


Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.


Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.


Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…


NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…


10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."


Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…


Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…


Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.


3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.


Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.


College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU


Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.


5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…


Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…


Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…


Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.