summer of soul

Questlove Put the Soul Back in Summer, Inspiring New Harlem Festival of Culture

Photo: Searchlight Pictures

Questlove received acclaim — in the last month alone, an Oscar and a Grammy — for uncovering the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival in his documentary Summer of Soul. Now the doc is reviving the festival itself with a Harlem Festival of Culture in 2023, Billboard reports. Among the founders of the new festival (not quite a proper revival of the Harlem Cultural Festival, hence the name change) is Musa Jackson, editor-in-chief of Ambassador Digital Magazine, who appeared in Summer of Soul for attending the original festival as a child. “The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will never forget,” he said in a statement, per Billboard. “With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969.”

The multiday 2023 festival is set to take place at Marcus Garvey Park, formerly Mount Morris Park, the site of the original event. The Harlem Festival of Culture is set to drum up anticipation with a yearlong series of events, with musical performances at the park beginning this May along with conversation series and film screenings. Talk about putting the soul back in summer.

Questlove’s Summer of Soul Inspires a New Harlem Festival