The Roots’ drum machine aka Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is known as a walking soul music encyclopedia. His random facts, knowledge about historic recording sessions, lyrical anecdotes and secret shows, mixed with his own Forrest Gump type happenings with the world’s most talented musicians is unmatched. Quick musings from Questlove on his frequent live DJ sets can turn into full on audio movies. Quest’ is good for filling the storyline. He’s also good in a new space, becoming a director of the Searchlight Pictures and Hulu documentary Summer Of Soul (releasing on the streaming platform and theaters July 2nd), that reveals the long lost footage of the event that rocked the hottest days of 1969.
Here is how Questlove and his team explains it:
“In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more. Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It will stream on Hulu in conjunction with Disney’s new BIPOC Creator Initiative; Searchlight Pictures will release it theatrically.”
Fresh off his 2021 Academy Award show music director duties, Questlove has been on a podcast run with appearances on two new celebrity hosted shows. The first being The FADER Uncovered hosted by music producer Mark Ronson, where the Philly icon speaks on his first magazine cover ever through the brand, his relationship with JAY-Z and his unique approach to making music. Check it here.
The second podcast look is Dave Chappelle, Talib Kweli and yasiin bey’s The Midnight Miracle, which was recorded in Ohio during the summer of 2020. Quest’ is featured on the first two episodes with titles like “How To Inspire” and “Gladiator Circus World.” The pod’s style is more like a bunch of homies kickin’ it at the crib, a peek into how the fellas converse when they are comfortable and cool. Luminary, is the network that has the guys giving us some seriousness and super funny. Of course, Questlove is in the mix…like the true music man that he is known to be.