Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson walked off a DJ gig for the first time in his life when he saw the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, he said in an interview on NOW with Alex Wagner Wednesday.
“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Quest explained, saying he saw the news alert on his phone during a set in Amsterdam. “I felt like I was him, and like I was watching my own trial, and this was the message America sent.”
A day after the verdict, The Roots drummer wrote a long post on Facebook, saying, “that’s the lesson I take from this case. You ain’t s@#%.”
Despite his fame—he plays every night in the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon house band, and has numerous producer and composer credits with acts including Jay-Z, Common, Maroon 5, and many others—Quest isn’t insulated from prejudice in America. He told Alex Wagner he was pulled over by the police three days earlier and said, “I had to use my book to prove that I was me.”
Watch Alex’s full interview with Questlove, discussing the Trayvon Martin trial, the vinyl that shaped his musical taste, and what gift he gave Jay-Z and Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy, after her birth.