After seeing Questlove’s critically acclaimed 2021 directorial debut, Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a group of local organisers decided to commemorate the event by hosting a new music festival at the same location. In 2023, a wide variety of performers will gather in Marcus Garvey Park (formerly Mount Morris Park) for the Harlem Festival of Culture, which will span multiple days.
Model, actor, and writer Musa Jackson, who appeared in Summer of Soul and attended the first festival as a child, is one of the creators of the Harlem Festival of Culture together with local entrepreneur and producer Nikola Evans and event organiser Yvonne McNair. There will be a yearlong schedule of events leading up to the first festival, beginning on April 15 with an open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York titled A Harlem Jones (inspired by the 25th anniversary of the film Love Jones).
The film’s executive producer, Joseph Patel, stated in a statement, “One of the things we hoped would happen with Summer of Soul is that it would open the door for more tales to be told, in all its forms, especially by people from Harlem. Musa’s deep commitment to Harlem’s neighbourhood makes him an ideal candidate to lead the charge.
Meanwhile, after the premiere of the documentary, Questlove was presented with several major accolades. The iconic Roots drummer and MC received the Grammy for Best Music Film earlier this month, and the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature back in March. In 2015, he was honoured with the Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award, their highest honour.
Questlove, who serves nightly with The Roots as a house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, has been keeping himself and the band very busy with a lot of other endeavours. Recently, he worked with Tank & The Bangas, who is nominated for a Grammy, on their song “Why Try,” and in February, he premiered the fourth season of his renowned iHeart Radio show, Questlove Supreme. Together with Mick Jagger and Black Thought, he is an executive producer on the upcoming A&E docuseries James Brown: Say It Loud.
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