Summer of Soul

“69′ was the year where the negro died, and Black was born”

What was the Summer of Soul?

The Summer of Soul is a powerful film by Ahmir Thompson better known as “QuestLove.” The Harlem Cultural Festival that took place during 1969, which was a changing era in the black community. The Harlem Cultural festival contained many influential African American performers at that time. The Black community came together to celebrate music and being black. It was looked at as an escape from the heroin epidemic and discrimination against African Americas. Harlem was the place where culture would be shown through pride and admiration.

Featured Performers: 

Chambers Brothers

Mahalia Jackson

Nina Simone

Stevie Wonder

Papa Staple & Staple Singers

Sly and the Family Stone

B.B King

5th Dimension

Ed Hawkins & Singers

David Ruffin

Gladys Knight & the Pips

Rick Fox (Comedian)

Hugh Masekela (Comedian)

Moms Baley (Comedian)

Style of Music Performed

Blues, Funk, Soul, R&B, Afro-Cuban, and Jazz

Time Period/Culture/Impact

The 1960s was about the Black community redefining themselves. During the 60s, the heroin epidemic was prominent, Malcom X and MLK died due to assassination, and the pain from the emotional trauma due to discrimination and lack of assistance.

In 1969, Black people were able to escape the narrative of negro and stand tall and proud to claim the term Black. this gave everyone the pride and confidence they needed to embrace what good they felt they had left.

The Harlem Cultural Festival was a created a sense of peace of mind and escape from the real world. The black community felt liberated, and this liberation was used to fuel power and price within each individual. The show displayed such a wide range of genres such as blues, funk, soul, afro-cuban, and jazz fusion. The choice of sound and rhythm was soulful and an important part of Black culture. The Harlem Cultural Festival was a political statement to and from Black and Brown individuals to bring Black people together.

Review of Summer of Soul

To be able to soak the culture and pride exhibited in the festival is an understatement. It showcased Black talent in ways many other films have not. Questlove captured the essence and atmosphere of the festival spectacularly. These impactful performances were very inspirational from the discussion about natural hair to praises for peace of mind.

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