Blue Monday (Black Woodstock)

Though the great Wattstax show held in Los Angeles in 1972 is often called the “Black Woodstock,” the Harlem Cultural Festival lays claim to the distinction of having actually taken place right around the time of the hippie Woodstock up at Yasgur’s farm. With a lineup that boasted Nina Simone, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, the Staples Singers, Mahalia Jackson, and Sly & The Family Stone (the only performer to bridge the two festivals, as far as I can tell) you’d think there be a hell of a documentary film about this event, and boy would you be wrong. Even though 50 hours of footage were shot, nothing has been released beyond a few scraps, such as this segment from Nina Simone’s blazing performance, which turned up a few years ago as a DVD bonus on The Soul of Nina Simone. Can somebody explain this to me?

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