Nambi E. Kelley


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by Nambi E. Kelley

TYA Drama

JABARI DREAMS OF FREEDOM is a 45 minute dream, a piece for ages 8 and up, using rap, freedom songs, hip hop dance, history, and humor to tell the story of a young Black boy from the South Side of Chicago who is afraid to leave the house, but learns to dream of freedom. 

10 year old Jabari loves to paint. With his Forever President Barack Obama as a guide, Jabari escapes the violent reality of an encounter with the police through his colorful paintings where he meets children from the past who teach him how to be fearless. He then meets his hero, Barack Obama, as a 6 year old boy on the eve of the assassination of MLK, Jr. Will Jabari be able to instill in young Barack the lessons he's learned and therefore ensure that Barack will have the necessary tools to become president? Will he learn to take these lessons back into his own life and heal his community? 

Production Notes

SETTING:YouTube-esque video sketches inside the mind of a little boy named Jabari. A series of living drawings created live.


JABARI:A charismatic and versatile young Black actor to play age 10, afraid of any and everything in the world.

DAD:Jabari's father, Black, middle aged, direct and humorous, gregarious and handsome; doubles as BARACK OBAMA, CONDUCTOR, JAMES STEWARD, YOUNG BARACK OBAMA.

MOM:Jabari's mother, Black, female, middle aged, doubles as CLAUDETTE COLVIN, RUBY BRIDGES, ARNETTA STREETER,and BARACK'S MOM.

*Cast size is flexible if additional parts are needed.


Nambi E. Kelley

Nambi serves as a season 2 co-producer on Peacock's Bel Air. Previous television writing credits include: Lady In The Lake (Apple) Our Kind of People (Fox), and The Chi (Showtime). She is also in development with Lagralane on a film project TBA. Ms. Kelley is the recipient of the NNPN annual commission where her play, Re-Memori was just presented at WP's Pipeline Festival in New York City. She is also winner of The Prince Prize which grants $75,000 to Nambi and Court Theatre for a new play based on the life of the great Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael. Nambi was named a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and New Victory LabWorks Fellow. She just completed a residency at New Victory Theatre through the LabWorks Program for BIPOC artists in New York City which gifted Nambi $15,000 to participate in workshops and develop her new musical for families based on the early life of Congressman John Lewis (a commission by Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera). Nambi's John Lewis musical, titled Hero: The Boy From Troy, will tour regionally in early 2023. Nambi is a former playwright-in-residence at the National...[FULL BIO]