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Newly Reimagined 'Summer of Soul' Festival Headed to Harlem

The famous 1969 festival is at the center of the recent Academy Award-winning documentary directed by Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson.

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Just weeks after Questlove’s Summer of Soul (...Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) took home the much-deserved award for Documentary Feature at this year’s Oscars, it looks like the general public will be able to partake in some of that soul-stirring fun relatively soon.

Per Billboard, a newly reimagined Harlem Festival of Culture is set to make its way back to the city some time in 2023. Just like the famous 1969 iteration, it’ll be taking place at Marcus Garvey Park and will feature a multi-day, multi- performance itinerary. Leading up to the iconic event, festival organizers are planning a year-long series of open mic nights, film screenings, musical showcases, concerts, community events, and moderated discussions throughout various venues in the Harlem neighborhood beginning April 15. The first event, A Harlem Jones, will be an open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York, paying homage to the 25th anniversary of the classic film, Love Jones.

Nikoa Evans, Yvonne McNair, and Ambassador Digital Magazine editor-in-chief Musa Jackson (who attended the festival in 1969 and was also featured in the documentary) will serve as the festival’s co-chairs.

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Speaking on the announcement, Jackson explained:

“Being rooted, watered, and grown in this village of Harlem, I believe HFC is our moment to show the world the vibrancy of today’s Harlem — the music, the food, the look, all of it. The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will never forget. 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. We want to authentically encapsulate the full scope: the energy, the music, the culture. We want people to understand that this festival is being built by the people who are from, live and work in this community.”

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Added Summer of Soul executive producer Joseph Patel in a statement, “One of the things we hoped would happen with Summer of Soul is that it would open the door for other stories to be told, in all their forms, especially by people from Harlem. I couldn’t think of a better person to charge through than Musa, whose devoted roots in the community make him the perfect person to represent for Harlem.”

Additionally, as Variety notes, Jackson, McNair, and Evans have also created the HFC Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fostering “Harlem’s next generation of leaders in music, media, art, fashion, science, technology, and entertainment.”