theGrio’s 100: Questlove, late night TV’s most lovable bandleader

theGRIO's 100: Known professionally as Questlove, he is best known as the drummer and frontman of the Grammy-Award winning band The Roots.....

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Who is Questlove?

Amir Khalib Thompson, 42, better known as Questlove, is a DJ, author, record producer, and the drummer/frontman for the Grammy-Award-winning band The Roots.

Questlove was born in Philadelphia and spent much of his childhood in the backstage of doo-wop shows as his father, Lee Andrews performed in a ’50s-style group Lee Andrews & the Hearts. By the age of 7, Questlove took up drumming and by 13 years old he was a musical director.

Questlove later attended Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts where he founded a band called The Square Roots, which later became known simply as The Roots.

After a successful recording career spanning more a decade, The Roots now serve as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC and will soon make transition with Jimmy Fallon to become the house band on NBC’s Tonight Show.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Today Questlove is so much more than a recording artist and musician. He’s taken a stance on several very important causes like stop-and-frisk, George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, and President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.

In 2011 Rolling Stone named Questlove #2 in the 50 Top tweeters in music. Last year he released a memoir, Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, which follows a loose chronological arc, tracing Questlove’s path from a shy Philly kid to the kind of guy who gets invited to roller-skate with Prince.

According to Rolling Stone, “He’s as much cultural critic as memoirist – he can’t resist interrogating, debating and riffing on every milestone he achieves.”

What’s next for Questlove?

All eyes will be on Questlove along with fellow group members from The Roots as they join Jimmy Fallon for his debut on The Tonight Show this February. During a recent interview, Questlove opened up about the task of writing a new theme song for The Tonight Show. “We’re trading musical ideas. Everyone is sort of lining up wanting to give me musical ideas. ‘Why don’t you do this?’ ‘Why don’t you do that?'”

This will be the first time in history the show’s band will not be called The Tonight Show Band, but they’ll continue going by The Roots.