Illustration for article titled First Look: The Children Are Our Future In HBOs iWe Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest /i
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

It’s Black History Month and The Root is here to give you the most adorable inspiration ever.


Growing up black meant realizing that the most important speech ever uttered was by a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Four words, “I Have A Dream,” would be embedded in the minds of every black kid by either their black-ass parents or black-ass teachers for eternity. For example, my black-ass elementary school would have a student recite the speech over the intercom either sometime around MLK Day or during Black History Month.

Though MLK Day is in January, HBO is keeping that same dream energy for Black History Month as well with an upcoming documentary entitled, We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest.



Directed and produced by Emmy-winner Amy Schatz (In the Shadow of the Towers, Song of Parkland) and executive produced by Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali (True Detective), We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest is an uplifting documentary about young people finding their voices and the community that celebrates and supports their passion.

Focusing on the Oakland Unified School District’s MLK Oratorical Festival in California—one of many oratorical competitions that take place across the country—the documentary follows students from schools across the city in the months leading up to the 40th annual festival as they hone their speeches, hoping for a coveted spot in the finals. Through interviews with the contestants and scenes of rehearsals and performances, the film reveals the deep connection the students make between King’s words and the world they live in.

In an exclusive clip obtained by The Root, students from pre-K to 12th grade perform iconic poems like Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman, as well as original pieces inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We fight today, we fight tomorrow.”

We are the Dream is the centerpiece of a larger educational initiative being developed and made available in partnership with Scholastic.


We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest debuts on HBO on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. The doc will be available to view for free on HBO post-debut.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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