“Are you ready Black people,” Nina Simone sings in a stunning new clip from Questlove’s documentary film “Summer of Soul.” “Are you ready to listen to all the beautiful Black voices, the beautiful Black feelings, the beautiful Black waves moving in beautiful air? Are you ready Black people? Are you ready?”
Questlove’s “Summer of Soul…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised,” uncovers a treasure trove of footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a music fest that took place around the same time as Woodstock but was buried and lost to history, featuring performers like Simone alongside Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Sly and the Family Stone and many more.
It’s not just amazing that a concert like this happened in Harlem and the world basically forgot about it, but even more so that all of this incredible concert footage in striking color, including that clip of Simone rallying the crowd, actually exists. And yeah, it’s quite something to look at.
“That concert took my life from black and white into color,” one man says in the trailer.
Questlove, making his feature documentary directorial debut, blends a concert film and a historical examination of race in New York in the ’60s.
“Summer of Soul” first debuted at Sundance, winning the fest’s top prize and the audience award before being picked up in a record sale for a documentary, and it will now debut on Hulu and from Searchlight Pictures on July 2. The film will also drop internationally through Star on Disney+ at a later date to be confirmed.