Tag Archives: African American History

Marion’s Favorites: Summer of Soul

 

What has been, it is what will be,
And what has been done, it is what will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NASB Bible)

This scripture verse from my favorite book in the Bible is appropriate for my latest blog post. The book of Ecclesiastes is the most understood chapter in the Bible and the one I have connected with the most throughout my adult life.

I found out a few days ago that in 1969 there was another music festival in Harlem that was just important to American Pop Culture as Woodstock. The Harlem Cultural Festival happened just before Woodstock. However, there was never anything released to the public until now.  Questlove from the group The Roots created his first film about this festival. I’m so glad he did.

Summer of Soul chronicles a cross section of black music from gospel (Mahalia Jackson) to blues (B.B. King) to jazz (Max Roach) to R&B (Stevie Wonder, Sly & the Family Stone) to pop (5th Dimension) and Latin Jazz (Ray Barreto & Mongo Santamaria) to show the diversity of African-American based music.

1969 was a year of civil unrest.  Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, & Robert Kennedy had already passed away. It seemed the country was ready to explode with violence. The Harlem Cultural Festival helped in channeling black folks anger into how art can be balm in turbulent times.

My favorite part of the documentary is when the group 5th Dimension performs at the festival.  Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo spoke about how important it was for them to perform at the festival. Fifth Dimension was seen as a white group and their style of music catered to the mainstream. Marilyn revealed how that misinterpretation of their music really affected her, and being asked to perform at the festival meant a lot.

I appreciate Questlove bringing the Harlem Cultural Festival to the small screen and showcasing another part of American history that I did not about until I watched this documentary. I recommend Summer of Soul for music nerds like myself and documentary fans as well.

Marion’s Favorites: High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America

Food is foundational to culture.  Every human culture on the planet has food as an essential part of their culture. African Americans did not differ from anyone else along the human spectrum in that regard. High On The Hog is a four-part miniseries on Netflix that celebrates how African American Cuisine transformed America.  The concept… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 79: Respect-The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz

Sometimes after reading one book will make you want another book with a similar topic. My previous review was a fictional music documentary in a novel titled The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton. Opal Jewel was one half of a groundbreaking punk rock duo from the early 1970s that nearly made… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 75: Invisible Men by Ken Quattro

Black History Month is in full swing and I have seen many social media posts recognizing the achievements of African Americans throughout the nation’s history.  However, I have always wanted to find out something that does not get much recognition or overlooked during this annual celebration in February. Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 74: Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

I still consider realistic fiction the standard for American Literature.  However, imaginative fiction has made significant strides in the past two decades to create its own place in American Literature. As one who prefers imaginative fiction over realistic fiction, this is a much-needed development for the survival of literature as an art form. As a… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 73: The Dark Fantastic by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

“The principles of the dark fantastic are so ingrained in our collective consciousness that when the expected pattern is subverted, most audiences cannot suspend disbelief. Readers and viewers complain that dark heroic protagonists are not likable. Critics observe that the characters, settings, circumstances, and resolutions are unbelievable. Agents regret that they just cannot connect with… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 39: Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

  Black History Month has passed, and I had a plan to read three non-fiction books about black history during the month of February.  I finished Maurice White’s wonderful biography, My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire quickly and then I read Before The Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, Jr.  Bennett’s groundbreaking book chewed up the… Continue Reading