When you wake up as Philadelphia-born Ahmir Thompson – the drummer, composer, author, and multi-hyphenate known as Questlove, the man behind The Roots and the bandleader for “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” – every day is an adventure. Or, at the very least, it is a set of new business opportunities and fresh aesthetic enterprises.
During December’s start so far, the Post-Thanksgiving week, where everyone is still slow-moving from the booze, the egg nog carbs, and the tryptophan, Questlove is hard at work, and coming up with bold ideas.
The first one you’ve heard before: the “Questlove Supreme” and iHeartMedia’s podcast first episode of Season 3, featuring an Interview with Quest’s nightly collaborator, host, and comedian Jimmy Fallon. Get that here.
While the Fallon interview finds the two-some reminiscing on the art of mixtapes, doo-wop music, and run-ins with the likes of Prince and Stevie Wonder, the entire “Questlove Supreme” podcast catalog is a revelation, with previous guests such as Michelle Obama, Usher, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph and Chaka Khan rocking the mic.
It is, however, the newer news that makes for bold headlines: Thompson will direct a feature-length documentary about the legendary “Black Woodstock” outdoor Harlem Cultural Festival from 1969. The event was filled with some 300,000 attendees and was filmed for posterity by television director Hal Tulchin. But the vivid footage of Harlem crowds and bold, loud and live performances by B.B. King, David Ruffin, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, the 5th Dimension, Mahalia Jackson, the Staple Singers, and Gladys Knight and the Pips – staged one year after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – went lost. The other Woodstock was the one that got all the glory.
“I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world,” said Thompson in a prepared 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.”
“Black Woodstock” is scheduled for 2020 release. By that time, we’re sure there’ll be a dozen or more Questlove sightings and reports.