Magical all-knowing Prince of everything, Questlove, has added to his extensive resume of projects, experiences, and business ventures by directing upcoming feature-length documentary, Black Woodstock, covering the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.
The Harlem Cultural Festival, colloquially dubbed ‘Black Woodstock’, had a stacked lineup, featuring the likes of Nina Simone, Sly And The Family Stone, B.B King, and Stevie Wonder just to name a few. The festival aimed to celebrate African American pride and solidarity after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. the year prior. It was widely ignored by the mainstream media, however, despite occurring in the same summer as Woodstock and drawing in 300,000 attendees. Questlove’s aim is to show the world never-before-seen footage that’s been gathering dust for nearly half a century.
Questlove will be making his directorial debut with Black Woodstock, with a release for the feature-length doco yet to be announced.
Even with his band The Roots being the in-house music crew for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, owning a vegetarian cheesesteak franchise, and producing for Jay-Z, Eminem, and the hit musical Hamilton, Black Woodstock will be Questlove’s directorial debut.
Questlove AKA Amir Thompson was convinced to sign on to the documentary after witnessing cameraman Hal Tulchin’s 40 hours of original footage:
“The performances are extraordinary. I was stunned when I saw the lost footage for the first time. It’s incredible to look at 50 years of history that’s never been told, and I’m eager and humbled to tell that story.”
Black Woodstock is being produced by heavyweights David Dinerstein and Robert Flyvolent. Although the names might be unfamiliar, their work won’t be. Dinerstein’s production credits range from Pulp Fiction and The Full Monty, through to more recent ventures such as American Hustle. Fyvolent recently worked on Netflix hit Captain Fantastic, and they have close to 100 oscar nominations between them. RadicalMedia, the company behind Netflix docos What’s Happened, Miss Simone?, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, and Abstract: The Art of Design are on board as creative consultants. So although it might be Questlove’s first directorial feature, he’s amongst very good company.
Just another feather in the cap of a man who has fingers in so many pies, he could open a bakery called Success.
The documentary hasn’t got an official release date just yet. But with the world eager to see Questlove’s directorial debut, it can’t be too far away. If you can’t wait, check out this little gem of soul queen Nina Simone performing at the festival in 1969.