‘Summer of Soul’ producer Robert Fyvolent addresses ‘white guys’ Oscar controversy in Grammys acceptance speech

Just one week after winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, “Summer of Soul” producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein have now claimed the Grammy Award for Best Music Film. The Searchlight Pictures/Hulu doc chronicles the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival via footage and performances that had been locked away in a basement for five decades. See the full list of Grammys winners.

Accepting the Grammy on Sunday night, producer Robert Fyvolent declared in his acceptance speech, “In case it’s not obvious, I’m one of the white guys. I’ll say, in the words of Ray Barretto, it’s time to come together before it’s too god damn late.” (Watch the video above.) He was referencing a controversial joke made by Oscar presenter Chris Rock the previous week, who said the award went to Questlove and “four white guys”; producer Joseph Patel is South Asian.

“This is for Harlem!” Patel shouted at the end of their Grammy speech.

The other Grammy nominees in the Best Music Film category were “Bo Burnham: Inside,” Billie Eilish‘s “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles,” David Byrne‘s “American Utopia” and Jimi Hendrix‘s “Music, Money, Madness … Jimi Hendrix In Maui.” According to Gold Derby’s racetrack odds, “Summer of Soul” was the front-runner in this race.

This marks the sixth Grammy win for Questlove, who previously won awards as a member of the hip-hop group The Roots. His “day job” is as the band leader for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

In the lead-up to the Oscars and the Grammys, “Summer of Soul” also claimed prizes at the BAFTAs, PGA Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Film Independent Spirit Awards and various critics’ groups.

The Grammy Award for Best Music Film has a rich history of anointing movies about some of the industry’s biggest superstars. Linda Ronstadt‘s “The Sound of My Voice” prevailed last year and Beyonce‘s “Homecoming” scored in 2020. Other Grammy winners in this visual media category include films about the lives of Quincy Jones, The Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Of note, Madonna and Sting have each won this category twice.

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