Summer of Soul Review


The Harlem Cultural Music Festival in the film, Summer of Soul was produced by Questlove was meant to showcase black culture and unity. The event was a way for black people to forget about their struggles and come together to enjoy a family like setting. The atmosphere was unifying for multiple black people. This event was created exclusively for black people to come out and enjoy and recognize how unique they are without fear of being judged or being subjected to regulations. The Summer of Soul event provided a safe haven for members of the black community.


This concert had influential and iconic artists that came to perform. Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and B.B King came together to essentially party. This was necessary due to the death of JFK, MLK and Malcom X, the black community was at  point of civil unrest. They were upset about the vietnam war and gained a distrust to the American government. There were multiple protests and anger inn the streets, so this festival was used as a way to show goodwill and positive energy. They need the music to take a moment from their worries. 

Overall Impression

I think this festival would have been so fun to go to. I feel like this festival was a good experience for all the black people involved to feel that familial connection. To see all the families in the street selling food, making a living off of this black community was heartwarming. I would have loved to be a part of that connection of community.


Stevie Wonder

19 year old stevie wonder started the movie off with a youthful drum solo. He has so much energy and life in his performance that seemed to resonate with the audience

B.B King

His music started with a jazzy blues song and him playing the electric guitar. The vibe from his performance was electric and I could feel the good energy radiate from his music.

5th Dimension

They were dressed in classic group matching outfits. Their R&B had more of an African pop sound, I think their vibe is very refreshing. I loved how their voices meshed together the pop and gospel genres.

Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson sang with a deep gospel theme. Her music sounded like it was straight from the church. Gospel was used by black people as a form of healing, something that the community needed heavily.

David Ruffin

He performed “My Girl” which is my favorite song by the temptations. My grandfather use to sing this song to me all the time so hearing it made me a bit nostalgic.

Gladys Knight

She came out singing gapevine which I feel was really funky. I think I have heard this song a few times but I think this is the first time I truly listened to it. She was named the queen of soul, and it feel like the name was correct.