The United States Senate has officially recognized the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the multi-day event that was the center of this year’s Academy Award-winning documentary Summer of Soul.
According to Rolling Stone, on Wednesday, the resolution—which was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—was agreed upon by “unanimous consent” and will “designate the last weekend of June 2022 as a time to commemorate the first weekend of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.” The resolution highlighted the performances of Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson in particular as representations of “a shift in Black culture, consciousness, and expression, and….a movement away from performances designed to be palatable for white audiences and toward freer expression and celebration of Black art.”
Rolling Stone has more:
The unanimously approved resolution also “encourages Senators to plan appropriate activities that support the objectives of the [festivals]…and encourages local governments in the United States to build partnerships with local Black artists, performers and activists to further uplift Black culture and art and promote equal treatment of all people.”
As previously reported by The Root, a newly reimagined Summer of Soul will be making its way back to Harlem 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. 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.
Additionally, on Monday, Summer of Soul director and musician Questlove was also recognized as an honoree on the 2022 TIME 100 list.
“Look. It’s gonna look like this for a while. Celebrating myself ain’t really my fav thing in the world w/o at least one self deprecating joke to justify the “living in non deservednessville,” Questlove captioned in a post sharing the news. “So stopping that toxic behavior last year was hard enough. But you only live once & I’m the cat who thought DJn the #Time100 was one of the coolest honors ever —-so yeah I’m salty I’m not djn the afterparty this year but uh….I guess this honor will do 🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 thank you @time for this honor & gratitude to my team (here on earth & ancestors getting their justified back due payment game on like a mofo).”