This time, the legendary musician and journalist will make his directorial debut with Black Woodstock, a feature documentary about the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. Throughout that summer, over 300,000 people attended a wide array of festival performances from Nina Simone, B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson and several other legendary artists. The late Hal Tulchin, the late producer and director (his most recent work, prior to his death in 2017, was the 2015 Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?), filmed over forty hours of the Festival, yet — according to an NY Times article — tried, unsuccessfully, to get various networks to use his footage for a documentary. “Until he died at 90 on Aug. 29 in Bronxville, N.Y., he was still hoping that a film or a series would be made,” his daughter, Sasha Tulchin, said.
Well, now his vision is coming true at last.
“I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world,” says Questlove 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.”
Production has begun now. Can’t wait.