1969 was the start of a new age for the Black community. 

Although the ability to rally and shine through adversity has always been a key part of Black people’s DNA, the tumultuous and tide-shifting events of the ‘60s led to a turning point in Black identity and consciousness. People in the community were standing up and unifying around a singular concept: We are Black, and we are proud. 

Throughout our history, Black people have gone above and beyond to survive in a world that demanded our blood, sweat and tears to get even a glimpse of the American Dream. But this was different. Black people were facing that world and demanding change. And that change needed to happen now.

Much like that transformational decade, today’s Black community is facing another crucial period. With a renewed cry for social justice and political reform, we’re realizing that long-lasting change is possible. Just like then, a new generation of Black folk are standing up and calling for change, ushering in a social movement destined to shape generations to come.

In his cinematic homage to the Black Joy revolution, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson debuts footage from the iconic and long-forgotten 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a six-week-long concert series that united a community through music, culture, style and celebration. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) provides a moving and joyful lens into this key moment of Black life, where so much of life as we knew it was changing.