Photo: WireImage
  /  09.23.2021


Questlove is set to receive the 2021 Sundance Institute Vanguard Award for his documentary and directorial debut, Summer Of Soul. With the prestigious award, The Roots member joins the ranks of past recipients Ryan Coogler, Damien Chazelle, Marielle Heller, Dee Rees and more. 

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award,” Questlove said in a statement. “Storytelling has always been the fiber of my creativity, be it DJing, writing articles [and] books, podcasting or teaching. Of course, I share this honor with the entire team behind Summer Of Soul. It was an honor to bring this historic event to light for audiences to experience.”

Summer Of Soul arrived on Hulu and in theatres this July after premiering to rave reviews and two awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The film explored the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival through 40 hours of never-before-seen footage and performances, including memorable sets by Nina Simone, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips and more.

“We are especially honored to recognize the visionary and award-winning directors Siân Heder and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson with the Vanguard Award,” Michelle Satter, Sundance Founding Senior Director of Artist Programs, said in a statement on Thursday (Sept. 23).

“We were thrilled to bring enthusiastic audiences together at our Festival to experience the humanity, originality and independent spirit of their culture-changing films,” Satter added. “Siân and Ahmir join Sundance-supported directors Radha Blank, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, Marielle Heller and others in this annual celebration of singular independent storytellers.”

Questlove previously teased that his next directorial project will be a documentary about Sly Stone.

“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA,” he said in a statement. “It’s a Black musician’s blueprint. To be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”

See Questlove’s Instagram post about the award below.

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