The first trailer of Tonight Show bandleader Questlove’s upcoming documentary Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) aired on Sunday night during the 93rd Academy Awards.
The documentary explores the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which lasted six weeks at Mount Morris Park (changed to Marcus Garvey Park) and the directorial debut of The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. The massive festival, which included performers such as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Sly and the Family Stone, drew over 300,000 people. Woodstock, which was just 100 miles away, took place two weeks after the Harlem festival, downplaying the festival’s significance to the Black community.
The majority of the footage from the Harlem festival hadn’t been seen before. Instead, it was languishing in a cellar for 50 years. Questlove’s documentary was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, reveals the epic event that radiated a systematic reevaluation of Black history.
Variety earlier this year had an interview with Questlove about his documentary.
“Woodstock happens in two weeks after this, and it defines a lifestyle, it defines a generation. 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.”
On July 2, Summer of Soul will be released in theaters and on Hulu but in the meantime, watch the trailer below.