The revolution that was never televised finally gets seen in 'Summer of Soul'

ByKarl Schmid via OTRC logo
Saturday, July 10, 2021
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For 50 years, the footage of an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion, The Harlem Cultural Festival, sat unseen. Until now.

LOS ANGELES -- For 50 years, the footage of an epic event that celebrated Black culture sat unseen. Until now.

In front of a sold-out crowd as part of Cinespia at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, "Summer of Soul" was screened to members of the general public and celebrities.

Directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the documentary film takes a look at The Harlem Cultural Festival, which was filmed in Marcus Garvey Park (formerly Mount Morris Park) in Harlem over the summer of 1969. The event celebrated Black history, culture and fashion over the course of six weeks.

The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

"The goal for me is to be entertaining as well as educational," Questlove told On The Red Carpet's Karl Schmid. "This actually eluded the world. Even when it was presented to me, I wasn't actually sure it quite happened."

MORE: 'Summer of Soul,' Questlove's directorial debut, restores lost chapter of Black history

The footage, which was never seen and largely forgotten until now, shines a light on the importance of history and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present.

"I'm so excited to see this piece of history that will live forever in the future," "Good Trouble" star Sherry Cola told Schmid.

"Summer of Soul" won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival and is available for streaming on Hulu now.

It's the first official project under the recently announced Onyx Collective brand for creators of color and underrepresented creatives.

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