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Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots Land Deal with Universal Television

The Roots legends  Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter are bringing their musical storytelling talents to TV, thanks to a new deal with Universal Television.

Questlove and Black Thought have signed a first-look deal between Universal and their Two One Five Entertainment production company to develop an array of programming for digital and television content. Fans can look forward to scripted and unscripted programs and specials from the duo as a result of the three-year agreement.

(From left) Questlove and Black Thought, co-founders of The Roots. @blackthought/Instagram

“This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” Questlove said in a press release.

“A significant investment from Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television in our vision allows us to share these stories on a much larger scale,” he continued. “Tarik and I see this as the next chapter to our careers, and we are very involved in the entire process. I’m directing, Tarik is writing and we both are producing.”

Two One Five Entertainment has already created some compelling content, including the AMC docuseries “Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America” and the upcoming “Black Woodstock,” a documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural & Arts Festival, and Broadway productions “Soul Train the Musical,” and “Black No More.” A series of short-form music-based content to be distributed on YouTube is also in the works from the company.

“Many of our initial projects have been music-centric content, and one of our goals is to become the [premier] hub for music storytelling — a safe space for these stories to be shared across a variety of platforms,” Black Thought explained in the press release. “Eventually we will expand outside of music with our stories. However, as we all know, every story has a rhythm and Two One Five Entertainment will harness that rhythm and create well-produced, compelling content.”

The Roots have a long-standing history with NBC, so the deal appears to be a natural progression of the relationship. The band is currently the longtime house band for Jimmy Fallon, transitioning with the comedian from his role as host of NBC’s “The Late Show,” which ran 2009-2014, to his current gig on the network’s “The Tonight Show.”

“The Roots are innovators and cultural tastemakers whose breadth of musical knowledge is unparalleled,” said Meredith Ahr, president of NBC Alternative and Reality Group, in the release. “The band has been a cornerstone of NBC’s late-night programming for over a decade, and we are excited to extend our collaboration across a diverse slate of projects to bring even more compelling storytelling to our audience.”

Both Questlove and Black Thought have celebrated the news on Instagram, posting images of the press coverage along with captions reflecting on their accomplishments. “Not even this is gonna stop us from telling stories. We have a plan and we sticking to it,” wrote Questlove in his caption.

Black Thought quoted popular motivational business book “Who Moved My Cheese?” in his announcement, writing, “‘Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese 🧀’ Knowing when to pivot is key. @questlove and I will continue to do just that, God willing.”

Along with co-founders Questlove and Black Thought, The Roots are made up of 10 other members who play a variety of instruments, including keyboards, saxophones, flute, bass, beatboxing, tuba, and more.

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