Welcome Soul Rebel’s new recurring feature, Soul Rebel at the Cinema, where we bask in the irresistible intersection of cannabis and film. Watching movies is fun, getting high is great, bring them together and you’ve got a truly special sensory experience. So dim the lights, grab some popcorn and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em (or vape ‘em, dab ‘em, eat ‘em, drink ‘em, spray ‘em… damn there are a lot of ways to get high these days. What a time to be alive). 

Today’s entry features a cannabis-infused beverage paired with a concert documentary featuring a who’s who of funk and soul legends. 

The Beverage

Blood Orange, Yuzu & Vanilla Sparkling Juice by Collective Project

Purchase online from our Scarborough and Beaches locations. 

Some Background 

Innovations in cannabis-infused beverages are an exciting development springing from legalization. Before prohibition ended in Canada, most consumers had at least some exposure to marijuana edibles in the form of baked goods or chocolates. Beverages are a new frontier. 

Companies like Collective Project are consistently pushing the form forward with ever expanding flavour profiles. Their Blood Orange, Yuzu & Vanilla Sparkling Juice features 10 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD, hitting that muched desired 1:1 ratio to keep you blissed out and enjoying the show. 

The Taste

Did I mention it also tastes delicious? Oh yeah, that too. Orange creamsicle comes to mind for the flavour profile, but that doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s less sweet and more subtle, with a delicate carbonation that makes for a sophisticated drinking experience. Very reminiscent of a mimosa. The blood orange and vanilla notes shine through, while the yuzu… I’m not entirely sure what yuzu is, but it really seems to be having a moment right now.    

The High

Keep in mind that 10 mg of THC is the highest amount allowed by regulators in a single serving edible. So if you’re a curious consumer sipping a cannabis-infused beverage for the first time, Collective Project also offers lower dose alternatives like their 5 mg Mango, Pineapple & Coconut Sparkling Juice (purchase from Scarborough or Beaches)

Just like other types of edibles, you won’t feel the effects immediately. About 20 minutes after finishing the can a nice body high transitioned into music becoming more vivid and all encompassing. As the film began and I watched a young, ebullient Stevie Wonder absolutely fucking shred on drums in front of 40,000 fans, I knew I made a wise choice. 

The Movie 

Image from Instagram.

The aforementioned Stevie Wonder is joined by heavy hitters like Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, B.B. King, and Sly & The Family Stone in Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a recently released documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Directed by The Root’s Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, a series of free concerts that took place in Harlem’s Mt. Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) are the setting for this impressive film that excels as both an immersive concert documentary and a love letter to a crucial sociocultural period in black history.  

History Sitting in a Basement

Stevie Wonder on the drums. Image from Youtube.

Occurring the same year as Woodstock, recordings of the festival sat in a basement for 50 years until the footage was cut together and released this summer. At the time, breathless media coverage of Woodstock sucked up all the oxygen, with distributors having little interest in a black-centric alternative. Thankfully Questlove righted this historical wrong, bringing eyeballs and attention to an unjustly forgotten event

And what an event it was. Decades later the energy of the performances are still palpable. Needless to say, a good sound system and a love of funk and soul will take your experience to the next level. Even less heralded names like The Edwin Hawkins Singers make a serious impression, boasting a full gospel choir onstage. 

A Diverse Line-Up 

Organizer Tony Lawrence. Image from Youtube.

The concert line-up also reflected the diverse musical milieu of Harlem. The barrio of Spanish Harlem is well represented by a number of latin jazz artists, including a virtuoso conga performance from Ray Barretto. He summed up the vibe of inclusively nicely from the stage: “I know a beautiful truth. I know that in my blood I got black and white, red, Puerto Rican, Indian. I’m all messed up. But I got soul. I know it. And so in every face, in every face I see, I see a part of you… and me together.”   

Talking head interviews intercut with the performances provide essential context and emotional resonance. Watching attendees as they relive the event 50 years later is especially affecting. At the end of the film one interview subject tears up, revealing his sense of catharsis upon watching the footage: “It’s funny, you put memories away and sometimes you don’t even know if they’re real… I knew I wasn’t crazy, but now I know I’m not. This is just confirmation [about] how beautiful it was.” 

The crowd was 40,000 strong. Image from Youtube.

So as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, if you need a bit more summer and soul in your life, pop open a can of Collective Project and press play on this Questlove jawn.

Summer of Soul is available to stream on Disney+.