OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Some Oakland students have embraced the opportunity to speak before a crowd and now their talents are featured in a new HBO documentary titled "We Are The Dream."
An opening night premiere was held at Oakland's Fox Theater Tuesday night. The venue was filled with proud parents, teachers and the stars of the documentary: the kids of the Oakland Unified School District.
They got the full Hollywood experience as they watched themselves on the big screen.
For roughly the last 40 years, OUSD has made it a priority to make sure each student's voice is heard loud and clear in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The MLK Oratorical Festival is held each year. Kids ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors can pick a topic that inspires them and will share their story on the big stage.
"It was fun, but the tricky part was to figure out what to write and memorize it," said Lovely Hudson, who's featured in the film.
The stars even conducted interviews on the red carpet, just like Hollywood actors.
"I got my inspiration on things I saw on social media. Saw a lot of people, even our president making fun of and putting other people down, so I judged, wanted to bring people up," said 12-year-old Donovan Edwards.
The executive producer of the documentary is Oscar-winning actor and rapper Mahershala Ali, who was born in Oakland, raised in Hayward and attended college at Saint Mary's in Moraga.
He says he sees himself in these young children and wishes he had a chance to learn how to use his voice at an early age.
"To have this moment now and how that impacts their self esteem. And to have this platform now, I think these kids are just wonderful," Ali said.
The documentary debuts on HBO on Feb. 18.
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