Multi-talented musician, producer and actor questlovewho you may know as the drummer and frontman of 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 showing how what you read can inspire who you are.
The film spot, directed by Ghanaian-American filmmaker Joshua Kissi (who has worked with greats like Michael B. Jordan, Laverne Cox, Cynthia Erivo and Jaden Smith and brands like Nike, Google and Hennessy) takes us into Questlove’s thought process while he reflects on the stories that influence his life and perception of the world.
On the spot, Questlove says: “I am delighted 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 of The Times. I even use the Sunday newspaper, which I have been reading for years as a traveling musician, as a sketch pad to set my intentions.”
The short is full of hidden Easter eggs for fans of Questlove and Roots, including an inside look at Questlove’s daily routine and the power of manifestation and meditation, an inside look at NYC’s legendary Electric Lady Studios where Questlove took up residence and between 1996 and 2002 produced multiple albums as well as his obsession with Wordle and the community he has created around it.
In addition, the film shows how guest essays, new music critiques, and coverage of places or people he admires help him develop personally and professionally by offering new perspectives on the world and himself. Questlove adds, “I hope this helps others understand how journalism can inspire new pursuits and ideas for every point in life. I encourage my fellow curious subscribers to visit nytimes.com/storyportrait to discover how the journalism they read is part of who they are.”
NYT subscribers can create their own unique Story Portrait, a personalized headline “portrait” using The Times journalism they read and interact with most by visiting nytimes.com/storyportrait.