Molly Eichel: Rapper sees music as Root to healthy lifestyle

Posted: February 15, 2013

THE ROOTS' Tarik "Black Thought" Trotter returns to Philly this weekend to support the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, bringing with him DJ extraordinaire King Britt, poet Ursula Rucker, singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius, rapper Chill Moody and singer Malene Younglao.

Besides holding it down for the Roots, Trotter is chairman of GrassROOTS, the nonprofit hosting this weekend's "Let's Move It Philly!" benefit concert, featuring Trotter, Ambrosius, Moody and Malene.

"Lets Move It Philly! is another great opportunity for me to give back to the city of Philadelphia that has given so much to me," Trotter told me.

The concert, Saturday night at 9 p.m. at Sigma Sound (212 N. 12th St., 215-988-1222,, is in support of C.H.I.C.K.S. (Creating Healthy Informed Confident Knowledgeable Selves), a program teaching girls at Frankford's Harding Middle School about self-esteem, and physical and sexual health.

The concert is only one half of the GrassROOTS extravaganza. Earlier in the day at St. Mark's Church (4442 Franford Ave.) in Frankford, GrassROOTS will host an info session about the good work they've been doing. Will Trotter perform there with Rucker and his highness Britt? Show up and convince him.

Trotter himself is a good-lookin', fit man. So how does he stay in shape with his busy schedule? "I love working out, but my travel schedule makes it hard. But I would suggest 50 pushups a day. It will help your abs, back, and shoulders. Push ups are a great go-to exercise," Trotter said.

For tickets to the concert, visit


Wednesday night's episode of "American Idol" saw our two Philly gals, Chickie's & Pete's hostess and Lawncrest resident Taylor Rand and Council Rock North junior Courtney Calle, sent home after the group rounds.

Rand, who sang Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl" with her group, received praise from judge Keith Urban. The country star singled out Rand and another girl as excellent performers. But, alas, Rand got the boot along with the rest of their group for not being individual enough.

"I got offstage and all the cameras were in my face," Rand said. "It was like my body was made of glass and [Urban] took me up to the highest balcony and just dropped me."

Rand's only regret? She wanted a concrete reason why she was let go, rather than a wishy-washy comment. "['Good Girl'] still haunts me," she said.

These United Steaks

Fishtown photographer Dominic Episcopo has a unique hobby: He molds meat. The University of the Arts alum takes ground beef, ribeyes and sausages, and reshapes the meat into the various states of the union and portraits of Founding Father Ben Franklin and King of Pop Michael Jackson. Episcopo set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his new photo book, Meat America. (Visit to check it out.)

Episcopo chooses his meats based on what he's molding. Louisiana, for instance, is made of gator. He is a regular at the Cherry Hill Wegmans, the South Street Whole Foods, and Italian Market butchers like Cannulli's and D'Angelo's for the exotic stuff. "Because, where else do you get caribou?" Episcopo said.

But what happens with the meat when the photos have been taken? "We eat it for the most part," Episcopo said. "Some of it isn't edible because I play with it so much. Sometimes my wife asks what we're eating and I say, 'You're eating New Jersey, and I'm eating Abe Lincoln.' "

TV Beats

CBS 3's Ukee Washington can add Teen Angel to his resume. The morning anchor will perform in Cherry Hill High School West's March 2 matinee production of

"Grease." The role was performed by Philly's own Frankie Avalon in the 1978 film. Fun fact: "Grease's" Rydell High is based on Radnor High


* Philly will

square off against western Pennsylvania this week on "Family Feud," hosted by Steve Harvey, as Philadelphia's own Gallagher family - including Keisha, an instructor; cousin Bonita, a sales supervisor; cousins April and Chaka, both social workers; and cousin Tracey, an auditor - faces off against the Christner Family, from Belle Vernon, Pa.

* Local attorney Danny Cevallos will be on "Nancy Grace" on Thursday at 8 p.m. on the HLN channel, discussing the Jodi Arias case. Arias is on trial for allegedly killing her ex-lover, who she contends abused her.


On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

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