BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Jamaal Collier is known as Mr. Root or Black Root, depending on where he’s performing, and you can find him performing just about everywhere.

Collier is now on tour with the company Step Afrika! He provides percussion with his hands and his voice.

Then there’s his band Black Root Underground; but wait, there’s another Collier. Mr. Root shows up whenever he visits schools.

Collier recently visited Towson’s Pleasant Plains Elementary on behalf of Young Audiences of Maryland Arts for Learning. During his visit, students learned about different kinds of music.

“Hip-hop is a culture that has an awesome ability to take advantage of what’s present,” Collier said. “Rap is the genre that’s connected to the culture of hip-hop; and at any given time, in any city, you can find breakdancing.”

Part of Collier’s message for children, as well as his own, is everyone can be a rockstar.

“I tell my children how beautiful they are,” he said. “I tell my children how intelligent they are and the greatness they come from. I make sure they’re aware of it every day.”

Collier and his partner, Max Bent, started Baby Beats in an effort to inspire the very youngest to believe they are valuable.

“My mother told me [I was valuable] every day,” Collier said. “She planted seeds of awesomeness, greatness, all my life.”

 

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