(Release Info London schedule; Sun Jul 11, Mon Jul 12, Tue Jul 13, Wed Jul 14, Thu Jul 15, Fri Jul 16, Sat Jul 17, Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly Circus, 13 Coventry Street, LONDON W1D 7DH, United Kingdom, 3:30 PM) https://www.picturehouses.com/movie-details/022/HO00010945/summer-of-soul "Summer Of Soul" The documentary is part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated 'Black' history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in 'The summer Of 1969', just one hundred miles south of 'Woodstock', 'The Harlem Cultural Festival' was filmed in 'Mount Morris Park' (now 'Marcus Garvey Park'). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten; until now. "Summer Of Soul" shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, 'Sly & The Family Stone', 'Gladys Knight & The Pips', Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, and 'The 5th Dimension'. A song isn’t just a song. It can capture a moment in time. It will tell you a story, if you look close enough. Stevie Wonder and David Ruffin, products of 'Motown’s Hitsville USA' system, each have a style intended to appeal to both 'Black And White America', and both are in the process of remodeling their careers in 'The Summer aof ’69'. Ruffin has recently parted ways with 'The Temptations' and is forging ahead as a solo artist, while Wonder is moving from the feel-good love songs of his earlier days to a politically tinged funk sound. Nowhere is the bursting of Wonder’s new identity feels more than in the film’s cold open, where he unleashes a drum solo whose every strike clears the way for the oncoming philosophies that would define his later career. Probably no artist encapsulated this period of transition more than the mix-gendered, mixed-raced race supergroup, 'Sly And The Family Stone', the only act to play both 'Woodstock' and 'The Harlem Cultural Festival', a fitting fact for a band that seemed to straddle the two separate worlds, and gives new definition to 'Black' artists. 'The Apollo 11' moon landing occurred on July 20, the same day Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin, and 'Gladys Knight And The Pips' take to the stage. Nina Simone deliverers a sharp edge in her fearless set, wherein she sings her anthem 'To Be Young, Gifted And Black' for one of the song’s first public performances. Of great importance is how the composition articulated the tenor of 'Black America' as it transitioned into 'The 1970s'. In 1969, vast socio-political headwinds swirling around the country came to 'Harlem’s Mount Morris Park'. During 'The 60s', 'Americans' witnessed 'The Vietnam War', a rising drug epidemic, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy. Only a year earlier, in 'The Summer Of 1968', parts of 'New York City' went up in flames following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. While the film focuses on performances, "Summer Of Soul" uses past footage as a catapult for real-time change and reflection. Nearly overlapping with 'The 1969 Woodstock Festival' 100 miles away, these seminal 'Black' artists performed for over 300,000 people at a once-in-a-lifetime event. From 'June 29th' to 'August 24th', 'The Harlem Cultural Festival' played for six Sundays in 'Harlem’s Mount Morris Park'. Unlike that other music festival upstate, the footage from 'Fhe Harlem Cultural Festival' could not find a home that summer of 1969, and instead sat in a basement for over 50 years, keeping this momentous celebration hidden until now. The film seeks to recover the meaningful spirit of the past, when the biggest names in 'African-American' music, culture, and politics came together for six consecutive weeks for a landmark, transformational 'Black' cultural event. "Summer Of Soul" documents the moment when the old school of 'The Civil Rights Movement' and new school of 'The Black Power' movement shared the same stage, highlighted by an array of genres including soul, 'R&B', 'Gospel', 'Blues', 'Jazz', and 'Latin'. 'Blacks' have always been a creative force of our culture. But sometimes those efforts are easily dismissed. It goes to show that revisionist history and 'Black' erasure, be it mean, spirited or on purpose or by accident is very real. The initial directive for the festival was laid out by 'The City Of New York' to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination under 'The Banner Of Black Unity'. 'New York City' had thrown smaller versions of 'The Harlem Cultural Festival' in ’67 and ’68, though the smaller events felt more like casual, block parties. But the festival in 1969 was supersized; some thought the expanded version was intended to divert the local population from additional rioting brought on by the anniversary of King’s death. 'New York City Mayor John Lindsay' walked the streets of 'Harlem' in a bid to quell the unrest, and became a key backer of the festival. The film represent the evolution of 'Black Music', not necessarily in a linear way: from it's roots in gospel, to the blues and feel-good soul, to the futuristic hybrid of soul represented by Sly Stone, through to the activist music of the late '60s'. “But gospel ended up in the middle because it’s importantly heavy, telling the story of 'The MLK' killing for instance. And the gospel in the middle becomes the pivot point or fulcrum where 'Black Music' and 'Black Identity' tip over into a new post-'MLK' world. After 50 years, are we truly back at square one with the exact same unrest, protests, deaths, shootings, and injustices? "Summer Of Soul".is a searing testament to the cyclical and constant nature of racial prejudice. The same urban decay inflicted upon Harlem during the 1960s exists in urban areas housing people of color across the nation today. There's simply too much happening off-stage, in Harlem, in New York, in America, for us to focus on just what's happening on-stage. Progress was being made in 1969, but there's still so far to go. The war on poverty, job equality education, all those things. To 'The Harlem Community', there were a lot more important issues than putting a man on the moon. The bedrock non-violent strategy of 'The Civil Rights Movement' receded to a charged 'Black Power' philosophy. 'African-Americans' transitioned from suit and ties to bell-bottom pants and dashiki shirts. Chemically relaxed hair gave way to natural afros. And younge 'African-Americans' began defining themselves separate from a white lens. The wider we zoom out, the more similarities we see with what's happening in America even today, 50 years later.