Harlem Culture Festival: Once in a Lifetime Experience
How it Impacted the World Culturally and Socially

In Harlem, New York, in 1969, the city had its first Black music and culture festival. This festival was not just about the creative line ups of the concerts, but a revolution for change. The performances included and introduced many diverse artists and cultures. Genres and styles showcased there included jazz, funk, gospel, and even Hispanic/Latin American music. 

Summer Soul was a time of pride, but during a time when black people were unlawfully discriminated against simply because of the color of their skin. Many say the festival was forgotten, until 2021 when it became actually televised. Reminding many of the impact the festival had on communities, music, and style. As well as prompting progress in the black community at the same time.

Notable Performers

Th Edwin Hawkins Singers

Although this is not the performance at Summer Soul, they  “O Happy Day” encapsulating the gospel music genre. 

Nina Simone

Nina Simone sang the words  “Are you ready black people?” to get the crowd ready. 

Stevie Wonder

Only 19 years old at the time, Stevie Wonder was singing and playing drum during the festival. Displaying his all of his musical talents. 

Gladys Knight & The Pips singing “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” . This music group style was funk and r&b.

Mongo Santamaría & Style  performing “Watermelon Man” expressing Afro-Cuban Latin jazz style. 

Music gave black people a sense of community during the fight of Civil Rights and Summer of Soul festival embodied it.

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