Questlove to make directorial debut with ‘Black Woodstock’ documentary

The film detailing the Harlem Cultural Festival will contain performance footage to "knock audiences out of their seats"

Questlove is set to make his directorial debut with the feature documentary Black Woodstock, detailing 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival.

The outdoor event, which was held in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park, welcomed the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and The Staple Singers for a musical celebration of African-American culture and unity.

Despite attracting a crowd of 300,000 attendees, the festival – held in the same year as Woodstock – failed to receive any mainstream media coverage.


As Variety reports, The Roots’ drummer Questlove – real name Ahmir Thompson – will shine light on the Harlem Cultural Festival in his upcoming film. The project will mark the musician and producer’s first venture into directing.

It’s said that Black Woodstock contains 40 hours of never-seen-before footage, while producers promise music and performance footage to “knock audiences out of their seats”.

“I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world,” Thompson 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.”


The unearthed clips in Black Woodstock were filmed by the late TV pioneer Hal Tulchin and have been kept in storage for the last 50 years.

Producers David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent explained that “the footage is unusually rich in texture and feel”, adding: “We are confident [Thompson] will bring an authenticity and unique vision to the film.”

Further details regarding a release date are not yet known.