Before Muhammad Ali and George Foreman rumbled in the jungle of Zaire in 1974, organizers turned to South African music legend Hugh Masekela and record producer Stewart Levine to put together a three-day music festival featuring legends such as James Brown & the Mighty JBs, B.B. King, Bill Withers and the Spinners along with Sister Sledge and indigenous artists such as Miriam Makeba and Afrisa.
The fight, however, had to be postponed when Foreman was injured in training, but the festival went on and was filmed for posterity. Now, after 35 years of legal wrangling, the footage has been assembled into “Soul Power,” a documentary that’s been getting rave reviews at festivals and theaters around the world. It rolls out at the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) for nine showings starting this weekend — 7 p.m. today and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 7-8; and 2 and 4 p.m. Aug. 9. The DFT is inside the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave. Call (313) 833-7900 or visit www.dia.org.