Questlove to Make Directorial Debut With 'Black Woodstock'

Ahmir Thompson, a.k.a. Questlove, has been tapped to direct Black Woodstock, a feature documentary on the historical Harlem Cultural Festival. The film will be the musician’s directorial debut.

“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.”

Black Woodstock will center around the 1969 Harlem, New York, counterpoint to the infamous Woodstock festival. The outdoor event — held in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park one year after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — featured performances from Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King, the Staple Singers, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, the 5th Dimension, David Ruffin and many other legendary black musicians. The event drew a crowd of more than 300,000 people, but received little to no media coverage.

The film will feature more than 40 hours of never-before-seen footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, including its most notable performances.

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In addition to his work on Black Woodstock, Questlove was recently announced as a co-producer on an upcoming Broadway musical based on Soul Train.

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