The official trailer of the documentary Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), has finally aired during the 93rd Academy Awards. With this documentary, The Roots drummer Questlove – real name Ahmir Thompson – will mark his debut as a film director.
Summer Of Soul will examine the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which is also known as “the Black Woodstock” and took place the same summer as Woodstock. This festival lasted for six weeks at Mount Morris Park, which we now know as Marcus Garvey Park.
More than 300,000 people were present at this large festival, with some big performances from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, and more.
However, two weeks after this huge Harlem Festival, Woodstock took place – only located 100 miles away – and it overshadowed the importance of the festival to the Black community.
“Woodstock happens in two weeks after this and it defines a lifestyle, it defines a generation”, Questlove said, earlier this year, in an interview with Variety. “Woodstock, the city name alone, just defines a whole movement. And I kept wondering what would have went down if this were allowed to happen for [Black people].
If this were allowed to unfurl and spread across the world as Woodstock did, how much of a difference could that have made in my life as a music lover and as a music collector? So, then I just felt this the sense of purpose that I have to tell the story”.
The Harlem Festival was filmed but most of the footage never saw the light of day and sat in a basement for 50 years. The pandemic gave Questlove the time to direct this documentary.
The documentary premiered virtually at Sundance earlier this year and won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary category.
Questlove will also publish his sixth book entitled Music Is History in October, in which he will explore one song per year for every year beginning in 1971.
Summer Of Soul is set to be released both in American cinemas and on the streaming service Hulu on July 2.
Watch the trailer of Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) here: