If anyone needed proof of the importance of sharing our stories, the success of Questlove’s “Summer of Soul” just might be the answer. Just under a year of the documentary’s release, the legendary festival will return.
After over 50 years, the festival dedicated to Black music and culture will return in 2023 under a brand new name, Harlem Festival of Culture (HFC) and will be held at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park. It is the same exact park that is displayed in the film’s 1969 footage.
Ahead of its return, the HFC will host a year-long series of events that will kick off on April 15 starting with A Harlem Joins open mic night. The event will pay homage to the 25th anniversary of the cult classic, “Love Jones,” and will take place at the Museum of the City of New York.
The movement is led by Nikoa Evans, Yvonne McNair, and journalist Musa Jackson, who just so happens to be a Harlem native. Performances from stars, both old and new, across the Hip-Hop, R&B, soul, jazz, reggae, gospel and Latin genres are set to take place during the highly anticipated return.
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“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,” said Jackson who actually attended the 1969 festival as a child, making an appearance in “Summer of Soul.” “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.”
The news of the festival’s return comes on the heels of the documentary’s success which includes Best Documentary Feature at the 2022 Oscars and Best Film at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards. Wins that took place within a week’s span.
Coupled with the exciting news, Jackson, Evans, and McNair have helped to launch the Harlem Festival of Culture Foundation, a nonprofit set to provide high school students in Harlem with apprenticeship opportunities, curriculum, and mentoring.
The event is set to take place during the summer of 2023.