Questlove‘s Summer of Soul shined a light on the Harlem Cultural Festival; and it has helped revive it!.
50 years later, the Harlem Cultural Festival will return in 2023 under the name of the Harlem Festival of Culture.
The multi-day outdoor festival will be held at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, the same place where the 1969 event featured in Questlove’s film. Leading up, the Harlem Festival of Culture announced a year-long series of events kicking off with A Harlem Jones open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York, paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of the film Love Jones.
“Being rooted, watered, and grown in this village of Harlem, I believe HFC is our moment to show the world the vibrancy of today’s Harlem — the music, the food, the look, all of it!” Journalist Musa Jackson, who attended the original festival as a child and appears in Summer of Soul. “With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969."
Summer of Soul documents the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, dubbed the “Black Woodstock,” which features musical legends Stevie Wonder, the Staples Singers, B.B. King, Nina Simone and Sly and the Family Stone.
“I was thinking in a more seasoned director’s hands, this could change someone’s life,” he said. “I knew I was watching something special. But I got over my fear. I often will go through impostor syndrome. I realized now it’s my chance to change someone’s life and tell a story that was almost erased.”
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