The Harlem Festival of Culture Favorite 



Jul 28 2023


New York City

The Harlem Festival of Culture not only pays homage to the past but also envisions a brighter future. It serves as a platform to showcase the rich diversity and dynamism of Harlem's artistic community, while also acting as a catalyst for social change and community empowerment. The festival boasts a lineup of artists from various genres and backgrounds, including jazz, soul, hip-hop, gospel, blues, rock, Latin, and Afrobeat. Confirmed performers include Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Lauryn Hill, Kamasi Washington, and Angélique Kidjo, alongside emerging talents and local organizations making a difference in Harlem and beyond.

In addition to its musical offerings, the Harlem Festival of Culture presents educational and cultural opportunities for attendees and the public alike. The festival collaborates with numerous institutions and venues in Harlem, such as the Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Black Theatre. Workshops, panels, screenings, and exhibitions will delve into topics like Black history, culture, politics, spirituality, identity, and creativity. Moreover, the festival will host speakers and activists who will share their insights and experiences on leveraging art as a tool for social justice and transformation.

The Harlem Festival of Culture extends beyond the celebration of music and art, as it also commemorates Harlem and its residents. It honors the legacy of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a landmark event that gathered hundreds of thousands to witness influential artists of the time. Simultaneously, it served as a potent expression of Black pride and solidarity during a period marked by racial unrest and violence. Despite being largely overlooked by mainstream media and culture, Questlove's documentary, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), revived the festival's memory in 2021, earning numerous awards and accolades for its archival footage and interviews with performers and attendees.

By perpetuating the spirit and message of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the Harlem Festival of Culture celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Black artists and activists throughout history. Furthermore, it aims to inspire a new generation of innovative and courageous leaders who will employ their talents and voices to positively impact their communities and the world.

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How does this project help?

Timeframe For change

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival; to honor the legacy and achievements of Black artists and activists; to raise awareness and funds for various social and political causes; to attract visitors and tourists to Harlem; to support local businesses and organizations; to provide entertainment and education for the community.
To establish the Harlem Festival of Culture as an annual event; to foster a sense of pride and identity among Harlem’s residents; to inspire a new generation of creative and courageous leaders; to use art as a tool for social justice and transformation; to contribute to the cultural and economic development of Harlem.


I would say that the Harlem Festival of Culture has a high potential for effectiveness. It has a large and diverse audience through various platforms and venues. It has a relevant and important theme that celebrates Harlem and its role in the civil rights movement. It has an enthusiastic and positive reaction from the performers and viewers. It has a reflective and educational component that explores topics such as Black history, culture, politics, spirituality, identity, and creativity. And it has a responsive and engaging component that encourages people to use their creativity and voice to address the current challenges and opportunities facing their community and the world. However, I do at the same time worry that for some, this will just be a concert, and nothing more.