Multi-talented musician, producer and actor Questlove, who you may know as the drummer and front man for The Roots (who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this month) and Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show house band, stars in the next phase of The New York Times’ “Independence” campaign that shows how what you read can inspire who you are.
The film spot, directed by Ghanaian-American filmmaker Joshua Kissi (who’s worked with such luminaries as Michael B. Jordan, Laverne Cox, Cynthia Erivo, and Jaden Smith and brands like Nike, Google and Hennessy) takes us inside Questlove’s thought process as he reflects on the stories that impact his life and perception of the world.
Of the spot, Questlove says, “I’m thrilled to be working with The New York Times on this campaign. As a subscriber since 2020, I get inspiration from the journalism, criticism, and even games by The Times. I even use the Sunday paper, which I’ve been reading for years as a touring musician, as a sketch pad to set intentions.”
The short is full of hidden Easter eggs for Questlove and Roots fans, including a glimpse into Questlove’s daily routine and the power of manifestation and meditation, a peek inside NYC’s legendary Electric Lady Studios where Questlove took up residence and produced multiple albums between 1996 and 2002 as well as his Wordle obsession and the community he has created around it.
In addition, the film reveals how guest essays, new music critiques and reporting on places or people he admires helps him evolve personally and professionally by offering new perspectives about the world and himself. Questlove adds that “I hope this helps others understand how journalism can inspire new pursuits and ideas for any point in life. I encourage my fellow curious subscribers to check out nytimes.com/storyportrait to explore how the journalism they read is part of who they are.”
NYT subscribers can make their own unique Story Portrait, a personalized, headline ‘portrait’ using The Times journalism they read and interact with the most by visiting nytimes.com/storyportrait.