The importance being yourself and not hiding your intelligence -- no matter what bullies might have to say about it -- is shown early on in the film, as Akeelah learns to embrace her profound gift for spelling. A quote from Maryanne Williamson commonly attributed to Nelson Mandela about not being afraid to live at one's fullest potential is a centerpiece of the film. The power of a community to rally together and help one of their own find success is shown throughout the movie. Additional themes include courage, self-control, and perseverance.
Two girls bully Akeelah because they think she's a "brainiac." They start to push and shove her before the principal steps in to stop it. Brief conversations about the deaths of Akeelah's dad and her coach's daughter, one killed in neighborhood violence, another by disease; one speller's father claps his hands loudly to get his attention during an argument (Akeelah overhears and jumps at the sound); local thugs roll up like a menace in an SUV, but are instantly won over by Akeelah's project.
A couple of cleavage shots; cute boy kisses Akeelah and worries, "you going to sue me for sexual harassment?" (it's a joke moment, but kids might wonder about it).
Infrequent profanity: "s--t," "ass," "hell," "damn." During the spelling bee, Akeelah's brother dismisses a multi-syllabic word as being a "white word." While watching the spelling bee in a diner, a middle-aged African American man calls one of the competitors, an 8th grade Korean boy, "uppity."
Starbucks (marketing tie-in with film named in the opening credits), ESPN shown and mentioned as the channel that broadcasts the National Spelling Bee each year.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Akeelah's mother is shown smoking a cigarette. Her spelling coach is shown having a drink at his desk, but doesn't act intoxicated.