Questlove is rarely at a loss for words, but Robin Williams’ sudden, tragic death has left most observers in a state of shock. Even so, the Roots drummer put together one of the most fitting tributes we’ve seen thus far for the comedian who brought joy and laughter to so many. His story recounts a time Williams brought some of that much-needed joy and laughter to the Roots when they badly needed it.
In the caption beside an Instagram post, Questlove remembered briefly meeting Williams for the first time in an elevator at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
“Grammy time is somewhat of a dark time simply because you just walk around asking yourself is it worth it or not,” he wrote. “In that environment I'm [sic] which people treat you like minions until they discover what you can do for them...if you're not a strong character you run the risk of letting it get to you.”
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But after piling into a crowded elevator, Questlove heard a voice that changed his mood quickly: “"questlove.....black thought....rahzel....the roots from Philadelphia!!!!” It was Robin Williams, whose son had turned him onto the group. “Ain't no way this old white dude knows my entire history and discography,” Questlove joked, but Williams knew his stuff.
“Everytime [sic] I saw him afterwards he tried to top his trivia knowledge on all things Roots associated,” Questlove wrote. “Simply because he knew that meant everything to me. May his family find peace at this sad time. I will miss Robin Williams. #RIP.”