A fascinating new documentary called Woke Up Black will be screened at the University of Chicago on November 2nd, and the Black Youth Project wants you to be there!

Directed by Mary Morten, Woke Up Black follows five Black college students from the Chicago-area. Over the course of the film, we learn about the many challenges they face, ranging from poverty and gangs to self-doubt and stereotypes.

“For two years, Morten and associate producers Keisha Farmer-Smith, Aparna Sharma, and Marisol Ybarra followed five youth from the Chicago area to explore their experiences when it comes to navigating the world they live in. As they move through their personal challenges this documentary also mirrors the complexities of this often ignored group that are at the center of many socio-political issues including discrimination, political participation, sex and relationships, music, and the media portrayal of black youth.”

The documentary subjects include:

  • Rosalee, 18, a recent graduate of Lakeview High School. Rosalee is the oldest in a family of eight where she and her 3 brothers and sisters were adopted by her aunt and uncle. She is the first person in her family to attend college. Rosalee struggles with life away from her family and the college experience.
  • Carter, 16, was adopted by two African American gay men when he was 10. As the oldest of eight children he was bounced around in foster care for several years. Carter is finishing up his last year of high school and is balancing his class studies, sports, and family life while trying to figure out his future.
  • Ace, 17, is a self-identified gender queer youth who struggles to maintain relationships with members of her family who do not agree with her sexual orientation and are not supportive of the gender identity issues she is dealing with.
  • Morgan, 19, lives in an affluent western suburb of Chicago and is in her second year of college at a prestigious out of state university. While being raised to be a strong African American woman by her parents, she has lived the majority of her life in situations where she is the only African American or one of a few.
  • Sheldon, 20, is a new father and an organizer at a south side community based organization that works with youth on issues of social justice. At the age of 17, he was incarcerated for six months for committing a felony crime. He is currently working to expunge his record.

The November 2nd screening will be held at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) at 5710 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Il and will include a 6pm reception, followed by a showing of the film at 6:30pm. The screening will be followed by a discussion at 7:30 pm that is sure to be lively and enlightening. You do not want to miss this event!

Check out the Woke Up Black website for more information on this incredible documentary.