Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
A few kids came into the theater midway through the film asking me if this was “The Boss Baby 2?”. 🤨 This current generation needs a history lesson. Honestly, I’m sort of in the same generation where we learned the basics of black history but, this documentary took it to a whole nother level. Black History has always been erased. Take for example this historical event.
Summer of Soul is comprised of footage from the 1969 Harlem Music Festival. A festival that was long forgotten because it overlapped with the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Every scene in this doc is dedicated to the history of Harlem, how it relates to the black liberation movement, and how black/brown people were brought together in peace. I’m incredibly floored with all of the footage Questlove has curated. One of the pinnacle scenes involving Mavis Staples and her idol Mahalia Jackson brought me to tears. The language change of “Negro” to “Black” was also explored beautifully. Soul, Funk, Psychedelic, and Gospel music all flowed through over 50,000 black beautiful faces.
The poem Nina Simone sings at the end perfectly explains why this event disappeared into our minds. Apollo 11 and other “white” events caused this to be erased. It’s a sad reality.
See this in theaters if y’all can. Easily the best documentary for the Oscar season.