Summer of Soul has won a great many awards since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in February 2021 (where it won the grand jury prize for documentaries). But the Peabody Award is special, and Questlove, who directed the film, seemed touched by the honor in his video acceptance.
In Summer Of Soul, Questlove details the events of the 1969 Harlem Cultural festival, which has gone largely overlooked in history.
“It was an honor to do this film and it’s an honor to receive this accolade,” said Quest during his acceptance speech (per Billboard), “and not just for my ego or for my personal achievement, but it was an honor to serve history.”
The award was presented to Questlove by Alicia Keys. Melissa Haizlip, who directed the PBS documentary Mr. Soul — which recounts the life of her uncle, Ellis Haizlip — also won a Peabody Award for her music documentary, and was presented with her award by Morgan Freeman. Ellis Haizlip was the creator, producer and host of the 1968-73 TV series Soul, which was known for showcasing Black music, dance, and culture.
“Whether exposing injustice, detailing uncomfortable truths, or making us laugh uncontrollably, all of the winners demonstrated how to tell a compelling story,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody, in a statement. “With an ongoing pandemic, political obstructionism, and senseless wars continuing to take and disrupt lives, these programs pushed past many obstacles to tell important stories that will stand the test of time. Peabody is proud to honor their incredible work.”