Questlove Image Credit: ShutterStock

Onyx Collective to Air Upcoming Documentary About Sly Stone, Questlove to Direct

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Media group Onyx Collective recently announced that they’ve obtained the new documentary that’s in the works about funk pioneer Sly Stone.

Announced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the content brand is set to air the upcoming documentary on Hulu after reaching a deal with producer Joseph Patel. Onyx Collective reaffirmed that  it’ll be created in collaboration with Grammy-winning artist Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. 

While the project is still unnamed, the documentary is said to revolve primarily on Stone’s life, impact, and his work as leader of Sly and the Family Stone. In discussing his career, the creators said they hoped to explore a story about the price of brilliance by chronicling the rise, height and fall of Stone throughout his professional career. 

Also, executive producer Questlove will direct the documentary alongside filmmakers Shawn Gee and Zarah Zohlman. Meanwhile, Common, Shelby Stone, Ron Weisner and Paul Gertz will all also join as executive producers of the project.

The announcement of the new documentary comes less than a year after Questlove swept up both an Oscar and a Grammy for his documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” during awards season.

After winning “Best Documentary Feature” at the Oscars in March, the musician took home the “Best Music Film” award days later at the 2022 Grammys.

“Summer of Soul,” known as Questlove’s directorial debut, focuses primarily on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Featuring archival content, news footage and modern interviews, the documentary highlights the festival through performances that occurred over six Sundays from June 29 to Aug. 24. 

Although it drew in a bigger crowd than the famed Woodstock festival, the Harlem Cultural Festival remains less known despite having pioneering artists such as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King and Sly and the Family Stone as part of the lineup.

In an interview with Variety, Questlove commented on the festival’s erasure, admitting that he himself didn’t believe that the festival actually occurred; the series of concerts have a notable lack of coverage despite its legendary performers. 

“When they dropped 40 hours of footage in your hands, that’s something to behold and take in because now you’re dealing with history and people’s histories… as much as I didn’t believe or had doubts that this even happened,” said Questlove in a 2021 interview with Variety. “It suddenly went from “I don’t believe this happened” to “Oh shit, this really did happen” to “Oh, God, this is history.” This is a vital piece of missing history.”

As a result of the documentary’s success, plans for a reimagining of the festival were announced in April 2022. 

The Harlem Festival of Culture is scheduled to make its way back to NYC this upcoming summer at Marcus Garvey Park- the same place where the original festival was held.

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