Summers are all about block parties, and North Philadelphian Jill Scott’s throwing a huge one Saturday at the Mann Center with performances by R&B artists KEM and Eric Roberson, as well as local hero DJ Jazzy Jeff. The Grammy-winning soul singer’s latest album, “The Light Of The Sun,” climbed directly to the top of the charts last year, and she’ll definitely be singing her new hit song “Blessed” at the party.
Tell us a little about your first block party experiences?
Every summer people would put together a big show right in the middle of the street. We’d laugh and enjoy ourselves. Somebody’s mom would dance — Ms. Cookie always danced for us. A DJ would bring a turntable. We’d just party, play games and have fun. It was the best, cheapest way to have a good time, and I always loved that they were so community-based.
Did you perform?
Yes, those were my first times in the spotlight. My girlfriends and I once did a fashion show. We took clothes from the house and would sew some things, and everybody clapped for us. It felt great. Or we’d lip-synch songs. One year I was Prince playing the guitar with paisley pants on. That was the beginning for me.
Did you see any of the legendary Philly DJs spin records?
All the time. The first time I saw Lady B was actually in somebody’s basement during a house party. I was young, and I wasn’t supposed to be there. I saw DJ Jazzy Jeff at a gym party at Central High, and Cosmic Kev. I saw all of them. They ingrained in my brain about what block parties are all about.
And now you’re bringing Jazzy Jeff to your own block party.
Yes, he’s one of my favorites. We’re gonna have fun and bring the community together. If you wanna dance, dance. If you wanna watch, watch. If you wanna make out, go ahead. There’s no pressure, and that’s the key to throwing a good block party.