We loved Summer of Soul from the start; it was no surprise Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s documentary beat out Attica, Flee, and Writing with Fire for Best Original Documentary at 94th Academy Awards. His He shares the award with producers Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein. Questlove shared the moment with his mother and delivered an emotional acceptance speech...thanking the people of Harlem for their contribution.
SUMMER OF SOUL
Director: Quest Love (directorial debut)
Summer of Soul Review
Harlem Cultural Fest of 1969: the festival was labeled “black Woodstock” and footage from the event sat in a basement for 50yrs until now! The festival was attended by 300K people and was held over 6 consecutive weekends. Jazz, blues, gospel, Motown, R&B lovers and lovers of Harlem all congregated to celebrate their culture, values and humanity.
Harlem was a melting pot of black and brown culture-it was the nexus of the culture that reflected black and brown people lifestyles, ideas and customs.
The festival was a political statement from black and brown communities and was held during a transformative time for black America.
Black America started to reevaluate America: lost faith in the country, wanted to create a new world, broken promises from America. Black and brown communities were suffering from their brothers being put on the front line during the Vietnam War, death of their social/political leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy, a heroine epidemic and relationships within black and brown communities.
The documentary provided a 360 degree of society during the late 60s allowing audiences to see the transformation of black people and thought through the lens of the festival. The doc is definitely a must see! Some of the artist performances included:
Stevie Wonder Nina Simone
Gladys Knight Mahaila Jackson
David Ruffin BB King
Sly & The Family Stone Shelia E
Jesse Jackson Herbie Mann
5th Dimension (Aquarius) Edwin Hawkins