Musician, producer, DJ, director, and author Questlove has released season 2 of his Shorty Award-winning YouTube series 'Quest for Craft', where he talks to creatives about their creative process and the way they’ve honed their craft. In the new season, he talks to ballet dancer Misty Copeland, author Fran Lebowitz, and Kenan Thompson. In episode 5 he talks to producer Mark Ronson about finding your voice as a craftsperson and an artist, as well as composer and musician Kris Bowers about expressing emotions.

Some interesting thoughts by The Roots' drummer Questlove about history in his new book 'Music Is History': "I can relate the history dispassionately. That’s something to practice. It’s important. If you let all your emotions in all the time when you’re giving historical accounts, you may find yourself too often overcome by sorrow, rage, and wonder... At the same time that it’s worth being honest about the importance of personalizing history, it’s vital not to limit ourselves to personal points of entry... Understanding history begins with learning history, and learning history begins with being able to see both inside yourself and outside yourself". Rolling Stone brings the excerpt.

"He was the anti-drummer. He wasn’t performative to let you know how hard he was fucking working. He gave you the basic foundation. What I really felt akin to, as far as Charlie’s and my drumming is concerned, was the fact that my reputation is as stoic as Charlie’s reputation — like, the serious face that he always had. I came to the world in a time where the temptation to show off was at a high, and it’s a mighty task to check your ego at the door when you’re a drummer, to not beg for attention or to do anything to distract from the team mentality" - Questlove looks back at the life and life's work of Rolling Stone Charlie Watts.

"Woodstock itself wasn’t the life-changing event. The life-changing event was the Woodstock movie. I wonder if this film had come out and been held up in the same light and importance, would this have made a difference in my life?" - Questlove says to Pitchfork about 'Summer of Soul', his new documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. "This film is potent enough now to work its magic in ways that it wasn’t allowed to 50 years ago. Black people and history - it’s a painful thing. That plays a role in why it’s easy to forget things. I’m very happy that people see this now. But it’s a deeper well that we have to dig, and this film might be just the beginning of it". It's in theaters and on Hulu.

The first trailer for Questlove’s documentary 'Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)', premiered at the Oscars last night (watch it below). 'Summer of Soul' focuses on the little-known history of the Harlem Cultural Festival, dubbed “the Black Woodstock,” which took place the same summer as Woodstock in 1969 over the course of six weeks in New York's Harlem. The lineup included Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and more. The clip juxtaposes many of these performances with the cultural and sociopolitical upheaval happening at the time. 'Summer of Soul' is Questlove’s directorial debut, and it was already awarded both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival.

The docu-music, the doc-music...
February 22, 2021

Questlove to direct Sly Stone documentary

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots will direct a documentary about Sly & The Family Stone, with Common executive producing it, Deadline reports. “It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA….it’s a black musician’s blueprint" Questlove said, with producers MRC Entertainment adding the film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon". Questlove's directorial debut, the music documentary 'Summer of Soul', recently won two awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

'Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)' documentary by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson from the Roots won the Grand Jury Prize for the best documentary as well as Audience Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, the Wrap reports. Built around long-unseen concert footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a six-weekend event, that first-time director Questlove uses 'Summer of Soul' as a launching pad to explore race relations and Black culture in that tumultuous time.

Things fall into place
June 17, 2020

Michelle Obama to host a music festival

The Roots and Michelle Obama are hosting a virtual festival on June 27, with a lineup featuring The Roots, SZA, Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, Kirk Franklin, H.E.R., G Herbo, Earthgang, Polo G, DJ D-Nice, Snoh Aalegra, and Musiq Soulchild, CNN reports. Various non-musical guests will make appearances as well (no word on Barack Obama yet). The virtual fest, organized through When We All Vote as the 13th annual Roots Picnic, can be watched via the Roots’ YouTube page.

The Roots' Questlove will direct 'Black Woodstock', a documentary about 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival, held for one month in the summer of '69, featuring performances from Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, BB King and others, Variety reports. The film will feature previously unreleased footage shot by the late Hal Tulchin. The documentary […]