Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter is well known as the longtime frontman for The Roots and still considered one of the most elite rap artists of his era. As the “Bad Lieutenant” ages ever so gracefully, a profile in the New York Times examines Black Thought views on growing up in Philadelphia, his beard, and more.
From the Times:
Philadelphia, specifically among black men, was way ahead of the curve in terms of the popularity of wearing a beard. Rocking a beard in Philly is like wearing a chin crown. To what do you attribute the popularity? I know that there is a large percentage of African-American men in Philadelphia who are followers of the Islamic faith. Do you think that is a factor?
I do. I was raised as a Muslim. I think the beard, and specifically long facial hair, is indicative of a sense of wisdom, strength and royalty, and not just in Islamic. In most of the religious books, when men of faith or kings are described, they are usually described wearing long facial hair. The beard is a reflection of both wisdom and royalty.
I also think the barbers from Philly are the best when it comes to the beard game. I made the mistake of going to a barber who was not from Philly, and let’s just say, I would never do that again.