Questlove will make his directorial debut with an upcoming documentary about a legendary black music festival, Variety reports. Black Woodstock, chronicles the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which featured performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and The Pips, B.B. King, The Staples Singers, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Moms Mabley, and more.
The weekly summer music festival, aimed at promoting black unity and pride, was attended by over 300,000 people and went down every Sunday for two months in the summer of 1969. Members of the Black Panther Party provided security for the festival after the NYPD refused the job.
A concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Black Woodstock was held at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park earlier this year. The documentary will include dozens of hours of never-before-seen footage shot 50 years ago by director Hal Tulchin, who died in 2017.
“I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world,” Questlove said in a statement. “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.”
David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent will produce the film along with RadicalMedia, the company behind the Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? Joshua L. Pearson, who edited the Simone documentary, has also signed on for Black Woodstock, as well as music supervisor Randall Poster. Executive producers include Beth Hubbard, Vulcan Productions, Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures.