Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson directs Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Tony Lawrence in this documentary arranging and contextualising the “lost” footage from the Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of weekend concerts celebrating black music that were free to any resident who could fit into the local park.
A frankly amazing assemblage of live performances, enthused crowd shots and outlandish fashions. The movie tries hard to work as a cross section of the black experience in 1969. Exposing the political, societal and cultural shifts that occurred among the predominantly African American population of uptown Manhattan that summer. Mission accomplished, although there is possibly one moment too many where the talking heads interrupt the toe tapping stage show we bought a ticket for. Added bonus: The Harlem locals vox pop reactions to the Moon Landing are priceless but pointed.
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