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  • Writer's pictureAOD staff

Questlove Gets Emotional As He Wins His 1st Oscar for ‘Summer of Soul’ Documentary

There's so much more to Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson than just being The Roots' drummer. He wears many hats on any given day, including author, songwriter, and film director.

Questlove won his first Oscar for the 2021 film Summer of Soul: (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which he directed. Questlove struggled to get his words out as he talked about the film's importance to the packed audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

“This is not about me,” he said. “This is about marginalized people in Harlem that need to heal from pain.”

As Questlove's mother watched the ceremony in tears, the 51-year-old multi-hyphenate accepted the award in the Best Documentary category and said he was "overwhelmed," but over the moon with happiness.

When it premiered at Sundance last February, Summer of Soul won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. He also won the Best Documentary award at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards. There is also a Grammy Award nomination for Best Music Film for the film.

It is based on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which featured performances by Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, and Gladys Knight & the Pips, among other '60s icons. The documentary received critical acclaim across the board, especially for the quality of the restoration.

Questlove is currently working on another documentary about Sly Stone, and will also co-produce a documentary series about James Brown for A&E alongside Mick Jagger.

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