The Roots' Black Thought emcees sorority soiree, tweets about 'Tonight Show'

"Twin Peaks" of the community: CHOP's Dr. John Maris (left) announces the formation of the cancer-fighting Dream Team program Sunday with actor Kyle MacLachlan.
"Twin Peaks" of the community: CHOP's Dr. John Maris (left) announces the formation of the cancer-fighting Dream Team program Sunday with actor Kyle MacLachlan.
Posted: April 09, 2013


The Roots' own Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Philly rapper Freeway will be in town Friday for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Step and Stroll Competition, featuring the best and brightest steppers from fraternities, sororities and their alums from around the country.

Black Thought will handle emceeing duties, while Freeway will judge the competitors.

It's all part of the AKA Regional Conference, beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday.

You don't have to be a member of the first African-American sorority incorporated in the U.S. to check out the competition, taking place at 11 p.m. at the Philadelphia Mariott (120 Market St., Convention Center Ballroom). Email for more info on how to get tickets, priced from $45 to $65.

Black Thought is surely having a good week, after it was officially announced that Jimmy Fallon would take over for Jay Leno as the host of "The Tonight Show" next year. Philly let out a collective, "Yo, what's up?" when the Roots, who have been Jimmy's house band since the show began in 2009, were not part of the announcement. I called up NBC last week, and they gave me the "no official announcement yet" runaround, but Black Thought had other thoughts.

According to, he tweeted, "Yes we will be making that move as well. #embracechange." Roots percussionist Frank Knuckles also tweeted, "Were Staying! #latenight," along with a pic of him hanging near the "Late Night" logo.

Kyle, cancer and CHOP

Actor Kyle MacLachlan ("Twin Peaks," "Sex and the City") stood with Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia's Dr. John Maris in Washington, D.C., last night to announce the formation of a Dream Team to fight childhood cancer. Maris will lead the team, funded by a $14.5 million grant from Stand Up To Cancer and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, along with the American Association for Cancer Research.

MacLachlan is a Stand Up to Cancer ambassador, proving that even if you excel at playing weirdly creepy on TV, you can still be a good guy.

Go on a BENder

95.7 BEN-FM will announce the lineup for its Summer BENder, taking place on Aug. 3, but I got the list on the early side. Smash Mouth headlines, along with Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon and Fastball. It all takes place at the Electric Factory Outdoors. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon on Ticketmaster.

Ali to Al Jazeera

As my buddy Howard Gensler reported in the paper Friday, Bryn Mawr's own Ali Velshi left CNN to be the first high-profile hire of the new Al Jazeera America. When I got Velshi on the phone, he said the new job wouldn't mean a permanent move to New York. "I'll probably spend more time in Bryn Mawr. CNN had become all-consuming. I was doing economics, weather," Velshi told me. "This will probably mean more family time and more Philly time, which is nice."

* In other TV news, former Eagles cheerleader Vittoria Woodill joined CBS 3 as a traffic reporter. The Northeast native graduated from La Salle in 2009 and runs the lifestyle and fashion blog

'Shark' attack

Have a killer idea for a new product? Pitch it to the rich kids on "Shark Tank," the ABC reality show in which diversified billionaire Mark Cuban, real-estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, creator and QVC personality Lori Greiner, techie Robert Herjavec, fashion and branding expert Daymond John and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary put their own money behind products they believe in. If you have what it takes to swim with the Sharks, hit up NextFab Studio (2025 Washington Ave.) on May 11 starting at 9 a.m. The first 500 potential business whizzes are guaranteed to be seen by the casting team.

Quick Curry

 Adrianne Curry, who took home the first crown on "America's Next Top Model" and starred on "My Fair Brady," with then-hubs Christopher Knight (a/k/a Peter Brady from "The Brady Brunch"), stopped by the Zombie Run down in FDR Park to cheer on runners (including a couple hundred in their best zombie attire). But I hear she only stayed for a hot minute and then bailed.


On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

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