Harlem, 1969 and something special was happening in the same months as Woodstock and the Moon Landing. The Harlem Cultural Festival brought to the stage such acts as a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder, BB King Gladys Knight and Nina Simone and over six dates provided an unforgettable cultural, spiritual and collective community experience to 300,000 people. Footage of the festival was sitting in storage for decades, and more attention could have been paid in Questlove’s documentary to the many failed attempts to bring the concert to audiences before now, but SUMMER OF SOUL still remains a vibrant cultural record and an emotional trip down memory lane for those who were there. Some of the performers are clearly moved when watching the footage for the first time and the film’s analysis of American racial prejudice and segregation of the period hits hard. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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