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The Inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture A Reimagining of the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 That Inspired the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning Documentary Summer of Soul

Posted April 15, 2022 · Flowers PR Agency

(Harlem, NY- April 13, 2022) - Organizers today announced plans to launch the inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture (HFC), a modern-day reimagining of the groundbreaking Harlem Cultural Festival held in 1969 at Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). Created to recapture the spirit and the heart of this historic festival and to showcase the vibrancy and creative energy of today's Harlem, HFC’s first annual celebration will consist of a series of live entertainment event experiences and social and economic development programming, culminating with a multiday outdoor music festival to be held at Marcus Garvey Park in Summer, 2023 in homage to the original event. 

The Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 was a pivotal moment in Black history that fell into obscurity for over 50 years and was the inspiration for Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s acclaimed Oscar and Grammy award-winning concert documentary film Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised). One of the film’s stars, Harlem native Musa Jackson (Editor-In Chief, Ambassador Digital Magazine) also attended the original Festival when he was five years old and is part of the executive producing team spearheading HFC alongside partners Nikoa Evans (Business and Economic Development Strategist, BNP Advisory Group) and Yvonne McNair (Live Event Producer and President, Captivating Marketing Group). 

 

Kicking off this month, the Harlem Festival of Culture’s initial rollout of events will center around highlighting the unique and rich tapestry of Harlem culture, drumming up excitement and anticipation for the inaugural Mainstage concert series in 2023.  One of the first events under the Festival will be “A Harlem Jones” Open Mic Night held at the Museum of the City of New York on April 15th in tribute to the 25th Anniversary of the cult classic film Love Jones. There is also a special screening of the film featuring members from the cast scheduled for June 27th. In May, the Festival will host its first live music performance to be held at Marcus Garvey Park (details to come) as well as launch its Cultural Conversation Series with Eliminating the Stigma of Mental Illness in the Black Community in recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Additional event experiences over the next few months will include indoor and outdoor live music performances, community events, moderated discussions, and film screenings hosted at live music and dining venues throughout Harlem and neighboring communities. 


Throughout the Festival’s inaugural year, the live music performances will include both legacy and contemporary artists from Soul, Gospel, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop, Jazz, Reggae, and Latin music in recognition of the diverse music and cultural contributions of the Diaspora. Additionally, the Harlem Festival of Culture Marketplace will accompany the concert series with a curated food and artisanal fair featuring Harlem-based businesses. Under its Community Impact and Health Equity arm - in association with the David Lynch Foundation and the Rodham Institute - HFC will produce programming to foster dialogue regarding the impact of health disparities in marginalized communities and bring much needed resources, access and solutions to address health equity in the community. 


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