Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Director: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 3.0

Rare footage was unearthed after sitting in TV director Hal Tulchin's basement for over fifty years of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival - which brought together such talents as B.B. King, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, The Chambers Brothers, Nina Simone (and so on) - that seemed to represent a "turning point" in African-American (and Latino) culture where they banded together to "rise up" in the face of adversity ... and then, well, you know what happened (quick answer: not much).  It's only fitting that Philly's own Questlove, best known for being the drummer of The Roots, is the one to repackage the umpteen hours of footage into a two hour overview: the music is fresh and exciting, and watching Stevie Wonder totally get into a song will always be magical.  Unfortunately, it tries to cover entirely too much ground in such a limited time and the socio-political angle is really oversimplified, pointing the finger at everyone else for the area's serious problems (drug use, poverty, wasting money on going to the Moon).  I will say that I've been fortunate to see Mavis Staples in person, and let me tell you: I don't care how old she is, she takes you there.