A new festival inspired by Summer of Soul (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is coming to Harlem. Billboard reported the Harlem Festival Of Culture hopes to restore the feeling showcased during the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which was explored in Questlove’s Oscar Award-winning directorial debut. The new event was founded by Musa Jackson, Nikoa Evans, and Yvonne McNair. Jackson, a Harlem native, attended the original festival as a child and even appears in Summer Of Soul.
“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!” Jackson expressed in a statement. “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.”
Joseph Patel, an executive producer of the acclaimed film, also commented:
“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.”
The 2023 HFC is being organized to take place at Harlem’s Mount Morris Park, now Marcus Garvey Park, the same as the 1969 event.
“As a live event producer with over 20 years’ experience, to be able to bring live music and live events to Harlem — the community I have called home for the last 11 years — on such a large scale and in a way that pays tribute to what this community represents and its rich history — is a dream realized,” McNair stated.
“Through HFC, we intend to remind people that Harlem is the mecca of Black culture for a reason. With so much going on in the country, particularly surrounding the Black experience in America, we felt it was only right to present something new that will carry forth the spirit of what the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 represented, which was the resiliency, artistic brilliance and overall cultural contributions of African Americans to American culture.”
Additionally, the three founders have created the Harlem Festival of Culture (HFC) Foundation for high school students in order to foster Harlem’s next generation of leaders in music, media, art, fashion, science, technology, and entertainment.