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Jill Scott returns to her roots for new music video

By Sarah Hoye, CNN
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Grammy-winning singer keeps it local
  • Jill Scott returned to her native Philadelphia to shoot the music video for her new single
  • The singer/actress has appeared in films with Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson
  • Scott donated to keep the rec center where she filmed from being demolished

Philadelphia (CNN) -- A ruckus was erupting from inside the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center on the city's north side.

There was plenty of loud music, loads of laughing plus a group of kids dancing. And it was all music to Jill Scott's ears.

The three-time Grammy-winning singer/actress was in the City of Brotherly Love, and Sisterly Affection, on Monday shooting the music video for the new single "Shame" off her upcoming fourth album, "The Light Of The Sun."

The new album, set to release later this year, is a rebirth of sorts for Scott. On it is an array of musical influences from blues to hip-hop.

"I really wanted to go back to my original state. I love hip-hop, and I was born to it," Scott said. "I needed to come back to it, it's been awhile, and I'm in a new environment."

And that new environment made March a big month for the Philadelphia native who signed with major record label Warner Bros. Records, which added her to the roster with Madonna and Seal. In addition to selling more than 4 million records, Scott has starred alongside Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson on the big screen in the film "Why Did I Get Married" and its sequel as well as appearing in the HBO series "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

Despite the success, she always finds time to come home to Philadelphia. In fact, when she learned that the rec center around the corner from where she grew up was on the city's tear down list, Jilly from Philly stepped in.

Through her foundation Blues Babe Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting college-bound students of color artistically and academically, she paid for a new roof, gym floor and basketball court.

"When I found out it was closing, it just hurt my feelings because kids like me needed a place to go," she said. "We just started to really take care of this facility because we don't want it to shut down."

The same Cecil B. Moore rec center she helped save from demolition is the same rec center where she started writing poetry and music as a kid. She went there for summer camp, played on the jungle gym and swam in the pool.

"Every community needs a rec center," Scott said. "I put a lot of my love and my heart here."

Inside the gym, Philadelphia resident Elaine Lark proudly sat along the wall. She was there to support her granddaughter, Ericka Garrison, who made it through tryouts and was asked to be a dancer in the video. Lark's granddaughter was all smiles after the 11-hour day on the set.

"Today was awesome, like really awesome," Garrison said, beaming. "This is a really good opportunity for all of the dancers and entertainers in Philadelphia. She really did a good job."

Lark was not only proud of her granddaughter, who at 18 was one of the youngest on the set, but was doubly pleased that the rec center is still standing. Some 20 years ago she was outside the rec center watching her husband play basketball in a local bar league while her kids played in the park, she said.

"It's nice to see that Jill Scott thought enough about North Philly to come back and have everything here [at the rec center]," Lark said. "It's a boost for the community. A lot of times entertainers don't come back, but I love that she did."

For Scott, never coming back wasn't an option. You don't have to go far away just because you've accomplished something, she said.

"You still have to come back," she said. "Where you come you take care of that place. Everybody is supposed to be a part of their own community."

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