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.
Positive Role Models & Representations
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.
Ease of Play
Akeelah's mother is shown smoking a cigarette. Her spelling coach is shown having a drink at his desk, but does not act intoxicated.