Nappy Roots schedules concert in Diddle Arena

Shawntaye Hopkins

It’s hard for Louisville sophomore Annie Henning to forget standing in the rain last April, waiting for Nappy Roots to take the stage at the Corvette Amphitheater.

The show was rained out, and hundreds of fans were left disappointed that the band never played.

“I’m not mad at them,” Henning said. “I just want to see them.”

She has another chance.

Nappy Roots is expected to perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in Diddle Arena. The concert is sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.

The contracts are not final, but members of Nappy Roots and CAB say this show is a guarantee.

Tickets will be $15 for Western students and $20 for non-students. The first day of ticket sales is tentatively set for Feb. 1.

“It’s gonna feel real good to go back to Diddle and do it up big,” said Nappy Roots member Skinny DeVille, whose real name is William Hughes. “We want to give (the students) a real show like we seen back in the day.”

Hughes expects Diddle Arena to be packed with Western students and fans from both Louisville and Nashville.

“It’s gonna be big, real big, and we’re gonna have fun,” he said. “I hope to get people in there hollering Nappy Roots’ name.”

Hughes said the group has been looking at a number of local performers who want to open for the concert. He said any could be chosen “if they have the skills to rock the show.”

Rumors of a possible concert have swarmed the hill since the April 27 show was rained out.

Many students expressed disappointment last semester when the band, made of several former Western students, didn’t schedule Western on their Kentucky college tour.

Bennie Beach, CAB adviser, said CAB has continually tried to schedule a Nappy Roots concert. But they were under the impression Diddle Arena could not be used until it was completely renovated.

“When trying to put on a musical act, matching them with a place to play is almost impossible,” Beach said.

Garrett Ballroom was considered, but the band didn’t think it would be large enough. Nappy Roots members said they are pleased that the Diddle renovation has reached the point where it can support a concert.

Nappy Roots has been busy since their album “Watermelon, Chicken and Gritz” was released last February.

Earlier this month the band was nominated for two Grammy awards in the categories “Best Rap/Song Collaboration” and “Best Long Form Video.”

They’ve also been in the studio recording songs for a new album. Their manager, Kevin Mitchell, said they have finished about six songs.

Hughes said the band may perform songs from the new album, expected to be released this summer, at the concert.

He said it’s going to be great to come home to new and old faces and to “the people who followed us when we were nobodies.”

“I’m excited,” Hughes said. “It’s been a long time, but we’re finally making it back to the school that birthed Nappy Roots.”

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]