Film review – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021)

Summer of Soul

In 1969 an extraordinary music festival took place. It occurred over six Sundays in Harlem, New York City, it was produced and MCed by an enterprising lounge singer, it was endorsed by New York’s Republican Major and the Black Panthers assisted with security. The acts included some of the most iconic soul, funk, pop, blues, gospel and R&B performers of the era including BB King, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Mavis Staples. It was the Harlem Cultural Festival, an ambitious undertaking held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, and a celebration of Black pride and culture. The event was filmed, but the footage then went unseen for 50-years and the Harlem Cultural Festival did not enter public consciousness as a historical cultural event, unlike the way that Woodstock, which took place concurrently, did.

Read and listen to the rest of this review at ABC Radio Melbourne