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  1. #1
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    Review of Questlove's directorial debut, 'Summer of Soul"

    From Sandy Kenyon, Eyewitness News NYC:

    The musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is looking to restore a lost chapter of Black history with his directorial debut in a "Summer of Soul" in Harlem.

    The summer in question was back in 1969, the same summer as another festival in Woodstock, New York.

    So why did that event become so famous, while the other was forgotten? That's just one of the intriguing questions explored in the new documentary now streaming on Hulu.

    "Summer of Soul" is one of the best movies I have seen anywhere this year, and it offers a record of the Harlem Cultural Festival that ran for a few years in the late 1960s.

    It's a music movie, but also a vivid portrait of a world in transition.

    Half a century has not diminished the power of what happened when history hit a pivot point. The music was the best of two different eras, the torch passed from one generation to another onstage.

    In all, there were six weekends of major artists in the summer of '69. But as the name suggests, the Harlem Cultural Festival was about a lot more than music.

    1969 brought about changes in the Black community, as riots had erupted the previous year following the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "It was a crazy, crazy, crazy period," remembered one who attended the shows. "We needed something to reach out and touch us. We needed that music."

    On June 19, some of those who had been there half a century ago returned to the festival site, now known as Marcus Garvey Park, for a showing of the documentary.

    "It's about American culture, it's about American history," Marilyn McCoo said. "It's about what we all share, if we just look at it that way."

    McCoo and her husband Billy Davis Jr. performed as part of the 5th Dimension, and a fan who saw them as a child was reunited with the couple at the premiere.

    "It was just electric," Musa Jackson said. "It was a day where we just got to be with each other."

    It was all recorded on video, and those tapes sat in a basement for decades until Questlove had them restored to create his first movie.

    "This was much more than my directorial debut," he said. "This was much chance to correct history, and that's, that's so important."

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    Still somewhat confused as to why Questlove doesn't think that Wattstax wasn't the Black equivalent to Woodstock.
    Last edited by timmyfunk1; 07-03-2021 at 05:23 PM.

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    I think that have something to do with Wattstax being only a one day concert and Summer
    of Soul being a six week festival. I just regret that I didn't see it. I've seen many events in
    that park, before and after. I've been going to Juneteeth events there for many many years. I took my vacation outside of the city that year and have never got over my
    blunder....

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    This film is utterly glorious. Questlove has found his calling as a director. Not to be missed.

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    https://www.blu-ray.com/Summer-of-Soul/1405716/#Review
    Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight are featured.

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    Loved the movie it brought out a lot of emotion and left me speechless. There was just one little thing that bugged me and that was that The Edwin Hawkins Singers screen credit read featuring Dorothy Morrison, but that was not Dorothy who did sing on the hit record. The woman in the film was Shirley Miller who did fill in on a few TV shows. Over all it was a great film. I only wish they had interviewed Dorothy who is alive and kicking in the Bay Area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brother_love View Post
    Loved the movie it brought out a lot of emotion and left me speechless. There was just one little thing that bugged me and that was that The Edwin Hawkins Singers screen credit read featuring Dorothy Morrison, but that was not Dorothy who did sing on the hit record. The woman in the film was Shirley Miller who did fill in on a few TV shows. Over all it was a great film. I only wish they had interviewed Dorothy who is alive and kicking in the Bay Area.

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    I caught this too and it gave me pause because I knew that wasn't Dorothy.

    That said, I loved the film. Everyone did well but I was particularly moved by the Mahalia Jackson / Mavis Staples duet and the entire Nina Simone segment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I caught this too and it gave me pause because I knew that wasn't Dorothy.

    That said, I loved the film. Everyone did well but I was particularly moved by the Mahalia Jackson / Mavis Staples duet and the entire Nina Simone segment.
    Babaaaayyyy....Mahalia and Mavis had me walking on my eyebrows. Spine-tingling.

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    Great movie. My theater applauded at the end. Probably will go back to see this again. So many great moments.

    I noticed Chuck Jackson performed the same day as his fellow Motown artists but was there a clip of him? I know they didn't include a performance by him which is sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luciano View Post
    Great movie. My theater applauded at the end. Probably will go back to see this again. So many great moments.

    I noticed Chuck Jackson performed the same day as his fellow Motown artists but was there a clip of him? I know they didn't include a performance by him which is sad.
    He wasn't included. At the end of the film, Yvonne Fair was listed as amongst the participants but she wasn't shown either. There was just too much footage to cram into a 2-hour film.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    He wasn't included. At the end of the film, Yvonne Fair was listed as amongst the participants but she wasn't shown either. There was just too much footage to cram into a 2-hour film.
    Yeah...I would have loved to have seen young Luther V. performing with Listen My Brother as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    He wasn't included. At the end of the film, Yvonne Fair was listed as amongst the participants but she wasn't shown either. There was just too much footage to cram into a 2-hour film.
    Thanks Reese! I wasn't sure if he might have been in the beginning as there were many clips going by and thought I might have missed him.

    Hopefully the performances get released. I am now wanting to watch the whole thing. I know that's asking for a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luciano View Post
    Thanks Reese! I wasn't sure if he might have been in the beginning as there were many clips going by and thought I might have missed him.

    Hopefully the performances get released. I am now wanting to watch the whole thing. I know that's asking for a lot.
    I would love to see it all as well. But I suspect that won't be possible. The most we can hope for are some extras when they release the dvd.

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    Name:  Blinky live in 69 NYC.jpg
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    I do hope that Blinky is added to the Blueray/DVD as a bonus clip.
    She really deserves to be included in this film.

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    I don't have Hulu so I guess I'll try to see this in the theatres. I know every edited film or
    documentary has it's cutting floor but it is kind of a let down for so much lost footage to be
    rescued and then lost again. I guess it's true what they say, everything is a trade off. I
    kind of expected as much since everyone involved in the final decisions is at least 2
    generations behind the occurence of the events....

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    I don't have Hulu so I guess I'll try to see this in the theatres. I know every edited film or
    documentary has it's cutting floor but it is kind of a let down for so much lost footage to be
    rescued and then lost again. I guess it's true what they say, everything is a trade off. I
    kind of expected as much since everyone involved in the final decisions is at least 2
    generations behind the occurence of the events....

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    Overall, I really liked this documentary. I was very disappointed that the original singer on "Oh Happy Day" didn't sing the song. That unique voice stands out and can't be replaced. Also they did not leave enough performances uncut so that we can really get into the music.

    Seems to me that whenever they ask a younger person who were not even around when a certain event happened to comment on said event, the majority of the time it comes out as just platitudes. The interviews with the younger people who were not even around in 69' should have been cut. They add nothing interesting at all.

    Is there a list of everyone who performed regardless if they were filmed or not? Lastly, I hope this comes out on blu-ray and is extended with as much extras [[mainly performances) as the disc can hold. Even an extra disc to hold more material would be great.
    Last edited by mr_june; 07-08-2021 at 11:54 AM.

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    mr_june, the end credits list all performers from the festival, even those who didn't make Questlove's cut.

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    Still, it was six weekends...Figure 90-120 minutes each show. That's a lot of footage.
    For me somebody could have cut back on the talking head lip service of Greg Tate, Sheila E
    Chris Rock and LinManuel Miranda, even Charlayne Hunter Gault. Given Chuck Jackson,
    Yvonne Fair and Blinky some showtime.....

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142272...ref_=ttfc_ql_1

    Or anyone else Questlove didn't imediately recognize tossed on the floor....
    Sorry for the salt....

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    Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    Still, it was six weekends...Figure 90-120 minutes each show. That's a lot of footage.
    For me somebody could have cut back on the talking head lip service of Greg Tate, Sheila E
    Chris Rock and LinManuel Miranda, even Charlayne Hunter Gault. Given Chuck Jackson,
    Yvonne Fair and Blinky some showtime.....

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142272...ref_=ttfc_ql_1

    Or anyone else Questlove didn't imediately recognize tossed on the floor....
    Sorry for the salt....
    Questlove has said in more than one article that there was 40 hours of footage. How he decided what to include had to be quite a chore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    mr_june, the end credits list all performers from the festival, even those who didn't make Questlove's cut.
    Thanks, we left the theater without seeing all the credits.

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    I have SO many thoughts after viewing this perfect documentary. BUT ... for now, my 2 favorite moments [[in a film where basically each and every moment is a perfect moment!) 1.Historically: Gladys Knight and The Pips Black Power fists at the end of their set. GO, GK&TP! 2. Emotionally: The exquisite Marilyn McCoo's hands-to-her-face and tears in her eyes reaction to seeing the 5D footage for the first time ever. If you haven't - you must!

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    I'm jumping on that flick the minute it hits DVD and Blu-Ray. An absolutely amazing moment in Black music history. Questlove deserves some sort of medal of honor for unearthing this masterpiece performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I have SO many thoughts after viewing this perfect documentary. BUT ... for now, my 2 favorite moments [[in a film where basically each and every moment is a perfect moment!) 1.Historically: Gladys Knight and The Pips Black Power fists at the end of their set. GO, GK&TP! 2. Emotionally: The exquisite Marilyn McCoo's hands-to-her-face and tears in her eyes reaction to seeing the 5D footage for the first time ever. If you haven't - you must!

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    Hope the Blu Ray/DVD release will have plenty of the other footage that couldn't make the documentary. I'm really curious to know what else David Ruffin performed.

  25. #25
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    Here's "CBS Sunday Morning"'s take:


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    I thought I'd share this post from Joe Lauro on FB. Joe is the owner of Historic Films, and this tells a very different story than the press has set out. I will add some follow up articles.

    Joe Lauro
    July 4 at 8:12 AM
    I am commenting here on “Salamishah Tillets’ recent “ Summer Of Soul” article and interview with Questlove . In the piece it is stated “ For nearly 50 years, this [[ Harlem Festival tapes) just sat in a basement and no one cared”. As well as one of the key premises of the film itself, as stated in the opening montage, that the Harlem Festival footage was LOST FOR 50 YEARS.
    This statement at best is hyperbole.
    The reality is that in 2004 I tracked down director/producer Hal Tulchin after screening a 16mm syndication print of an episode of his first, Harlem Festival series
    Mr. Tulchin and I went to lunch to discuss the Harlem Festival footage and shortly thereafter he signed a representational agreement with my company Historic Films. The idea was to license clips to third parties from the 40+ hours of Harlem Festival footage as well as develop a feature length documentary on the event. I pulled the video tape masters from his Westchester County basement, digitized the reels, logged their contents, archived the 1” submasters at the Historic Films offices and insisted that Mr. Tulchin copyright all of the reels. In fact I filled out the forms for him and filed the copyright registration on his behalf [[ and on my dime) with the Library Of Congress . The Library Of Congress was also sent a complete set of videos of the 40+ hours of Harlem Festival footage as is their requirement for copyright filing. Through the years of our representation, we licensed excerpts of the footage to several productions including SONY RECORDS who used a sizable portion of the “lost” Nina Simone set in one of their home video releases.
    Morgan Neville [[ Academy Award Winning director TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM) Robert Gordon [[ Emmy winning co-director BEST OF ENEMIES, author of IT CAME FROM MEMPHIS) and I developed a feature length documentary film on the festival framing the event within the politics and civil right unrest that existed at the time, created a trailer and shopped the production around to several possible distributors. A deal with a major distributor was in negotiation in 2007 and we were in contract negotiations. To our surprise the negotiations broke down and the rep from that company jumped ship and teamed with Mr. Tulchin dumping Neville, Gordon and myself taking the Harlem Festival project on as his own . Some 15 years later we have SUMMER OF SOUL.
    As an archivist and filmmaker who has spent his 35 year career creating music documentaries, and unearthing and preserving rare musical content, I am delighted that this film has finally been produced. I only ask that credit for the Harlem Festival footages' re-discovery be properly given. Producers of a doc such as this that is touting it’s righteousness and quest for truth should at least give credit where it is due. I assure you, if it were not for my efforts the Harlem Festival master tapes would likely still be molding in Mr. Tulchin’s Westchester County basement and Questlove would still be in total ignorance of their existence.
    Joe Lauro

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    After reading Joe Lauro's story, read this one https://gregmitchell.substack.com/p/...YhaGdiFqYdDIxw

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    and this was posted on FB by Joyce Moore, wife and manager of Sam Moore.

    Joyce Moore
    A black man is cheating every single black artist involved!
    They haven’t paid anyone either. How dare someone say oh I love these people and they’re so significant and they made such a contribution to my life and then you cheat them you rob them you don’t take care of them. Those 1969 contracts did not include a clause that says in perpetuity in any and all media know now or in the future! There were AFTRA contracts with limited We use provisions. Nobody signed “waivers” as now being claimed ....You can’t waive a union contract for a union govern show to the best of my recollection.
    This needs to be straightened out immediately and Questlove should not, under any circumstance, get nominated for an Oscar which is what it appears they’re gunning for that would be the ultimate enslavement by a black man of black performers!
    This ain’t over the fat lady has not stepped up to the microphone to utter a note and she shouldn’t not until this is made right all of it. This was not the black Woodstock! This was not the revolution that couldn’t be televised either it’s all BS! And it’s true the performances are stunning brilliant and deserve broadcast they deserve being seen they are part of an incredible gift that those artists have contributed to American and world culture

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    I am good friends with Randall Grass who runs Shanachie Records/Films. He said over 15 years ago, he & Joe Lauro were in talks about Shanachee releasing the videos. Randall saw some videos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imnokid View Post
    and this was posted on FB by Joyce Moore, wife and manager of Sam Moore.

    Joyce Moore
    A black man is cheating every single black artist involved!
    They haven’t paid anyone either. How dare someone say oh I love these people and they’re so significant and they made such a contribution to my life and then you cheat them you rob them you don’t take care of them. Those 1969 contracts did not include a clause that says in perpetuity in any and all media know now or in the future! There were AFTRA contracts with limited We use provisions. Nobody signed “waivers” as now being claimed ....You can’t waive a union contract for a union govern show to the best of my recollection.
    This needs to be straightened out immediately and Questlove should not, under any circumstance, get nominated for an Oscar which is what it appears they’re gunning for that would be the ultimate enslavement by a black man of black performers!
    This ain’t over the fat lady has not stepped up to the microphone to utter a note and she shouldn’t not until this is made right all of it. This was not the black Woodstock! This was not the revolution that couldn’t be televised either it’s all BS! And it’s true the performances are stunning brilliant and deserve broadcast they deserve being seen they are part of an incredible gift that those artists have contributed to American and world culture

    thanks imnokid for the expose. As usual , there's the narrative that the media wants you to buy into ...and then there's the truth.

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    Oy. Shades of those greedy, griftin' Gayes. It's always so sad when someone of talent and intelligence creates something only to see the plagues, greed and grievance descend. See the film while you can, in case it's 'Blurred Lines' out of existence. Such is life.

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    I'm not sayin don't see the film...I'm just sayin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imnokid View Post
    I am good friends with Randall Grass who runs Shanachie Records/Films. He said over 15 years ago, he & Joe Lauro were in talks about Shanachee releasing the videos. Randall saw some videos.
    Well, your friend Randall made one really dumb decision. What is it, actually, that you're 'just saying', without even having seen the film?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Well, your friend Randall made one really dumb decision. What is it, actually, that you're 'just saying', without even having seen the film?
    First, I just said they were in discussions, not that Shanachie passed. And why would you say I haven't seen the film. I posted some stories from people who were there before this new film came out. I just wanted to put their stories so that readers could gain another perspective. Your avatar name here is quite the opposite of the pot you are trying to stir.

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    I recommend bypassing the cancel-culture crowd who seem to have formed and simply watch 'Summer of Soul' for what it is. "This shows how much easier it is to be critical that it is to be correct" - Benjamin Disraeli

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    Since I haven't been in a movie theatre since 2019 this was more than a special occassion. The movie gave me everything that I needed. It was soul stirring, uplifting and just made me feel glad to be blackity, black, black. I was only three in 1969 but I can only imagine what it would have felt like to have actually been there. I found no fault in it, other than miscrediting the "Oh Happy Day" singer. It was just enough without being too much and I got a kick out of the hosts outfit changes. I will be watching this one over and over again.

  37. #37
    Does anyone think a soundtrack will be released for this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fightingirish46 View Post
    Does anyone think a soundtrack will be released for this?
    You never know. But if there was one, I would think it would already be out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    Since I haven't been in a movie theatre since 2019 this was more than a special occassion. The movie gave me everything that I needed. It was soul stirring, uplifting and just made me feel glad to be blackity, black, black. I was only three in 1969 but I can only imagine what it would have felt like to have actually been there. I found no fault in it, other than miscrediting the "Oh Happy Day" singer. It was just enough without being too much and I got a kick out of the hosts outfit changes. I will be watching this one over and over again.
    That's a wonderful reaction to the film, Glencro, and I'd make a substantial bet that QLove would be extremely happy with your personal identification with the film. I miss out on that part but otherwise I agree with your reaction entirely! I'd love to see a DVD/BR release with an additional disc of performances and perhaps interview out-takes, but the film is perfect as-is and I will purchase my copy as soon as it becomes available. Be well!

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    Hi Folks,
    From FRESH AIR with Terry Gross
    Questlove On 'Summer of Soul' 47 minutes [Jul 21, 2021]

    https://podbay.fm/p/fresh-air/e/1626896399

    SHOW NOTES
    Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is coming out of the pandemic a changed man. The co-founder of the Roots and the music director for 'The Tonight Show' did something he never thought he'd do he bought a farm in upstate New York. "I thought chaos was the only way that I could exist. But now I embrace quiet and I can hear myself think." Now he's venturing into a new arena: He's made his directorial debut with the documentary 'Summer of Soul,' which tells the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, known as the "Black Woodstock."

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