Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter helps push forward Point Breeze mural for activist, friend

philadelphia murals black thought the roots
Rendering of the Shawn White mural, which will be constructed at 2059 Dickenson Street in Point Breeze. Credit: Mural Arts Program

Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter said now it’s Shawn’s turn.

After a mural was built on the World Communications Charter School building and dedicated in May of last year to his Grammy-award wining group, The Roots, Trotter quickly developed plans with the Mural Arts Program to honor his recently deceased friend.

Trotter, a native of South Philadelphia, announced at Audenreid Charter High School Wednesday morning that a mural will be constructed in honor of his long-time friend and well-known community activist Shawn L. White.

Dubbed the “ASpire” project, the mural will celebrate the life of White, who died suddenly days after his 41st birthday after a short battle with heart disease and high blood pressure. The mural will be constructed, at 2059 Dickenson Street in Point Breeze, in spring and summer 2014 and is scheduled to be dedicated in October 2014. 

“Shawn was very dedicated to the community especially young, African American men,” said Trotter, 42. “He always wanted to make sure we were making the best choices that we could and doing everything that we could to protect ourselves and our partners and our community from sexually transmitted diseases.”

A series of workshops and  programs focusing on AIDS/HIV awareness and conflict resolution, among others, will accompany the creation of the artwork.

“I hope this mural and the workshops we are gong to be doing in conjunction, will keep Shawn’s vision alive and help people to understand that we need to take better care of ourselves and each other,” Trotter said.

Trotter said the duo would make music together in Shawn’s grandmother’s basement at 22nd and Mifflin. They would talk about  their dreams to make it big. “And even though we went into different fields we both made our dreams come true.”

“I’m not sure the number of lives that Shawn touched in his time here, but I know that he deeply touched mine,” Trotter added. “And the depth of his commitment and his service to his friends and family and his community lives on.”


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