Questlove Directs Film To Celebrate Epic Harlem Festival

Nina Simone
Brooke Brown
January 14, 2020

One glance at the artist lineup that graced the stage of 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival and you’ll wish you had been there. 

While hippies flocked to celebrate peace and love at the now-infamous Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York, Black artists like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, and dozens more had another idea.

Black Woodstock, as the Cultural Festival was later called, attracted 300,000 attendees over six shows to Harlem’s Mount Morris Park. 

Its purpose was to commemorate the first anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and encourage a continued spirit of Black pride. But there was one major concern...

Despite all the music legends slated to perform, NYPD officers refused to provide security

The Black Panther Party stepped up in their absence and so on June 29th, Sly and The Family Stone kicked off the free festival that remained a hidden accomplishment...until now.

The Roots’ legendary drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson shared his plans with Variety to direct the feature documentary “Black Woodstock,” which will include highlights from over 40 hours of never-before-released footage.

Communal events like Black Woodstock help us collectively choose joy and unity in spite of our most painful tragedies - a cause our artists have ALWAYS been down to support. 

With Questlove at the helm, a new generation of music lovers are in for a treat.

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