R. Eric Thomas on finding a “New Attitude” in Philadelphia at TEDx

In November, TEDxPhilly brought together some of our city’s brightest urbanists and performers for a day full of urban inspiration and ideas about The City. I’ve been sharing some of my favorite talks, ranging from high concept mapping to urban highway removal, here on Eyes on the Street.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I’d like take a different angle by highlighting the creative energy found in our city, with a love letter of sorts from R. Eric Thomas to Philadelphia.

Thomas is a storyteller, playwright, and host at First Person Arts StorySlams, but it took him a while to get there. His post-college years were spent adrift and creatively “bankrupt” in Baltimore. Thomas spontaneously moved to Philly where – thanks to a little inspiration from Patti LaBelle –  he found his voice and a creative community.

“This is the city where I found myself, where I found that I have a story to tell and that my story is important,” Thomas said. “There is a music in this city, and I am so grateful to the music of this city for allowing me to add words to it. So sometimes when I’m walking down the Avenue of the Arts, which is beautiful now, and the lights on the buildings turn purple. And I’m walking by Gamble & Huff, and I hear Miss Patti in my head. Or maybe its out of the sidewalk or maybe she’s walking behind me…. I got a ‘New Attitude.’”

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