Just in time for the 4th of July, Netflix is offering a U.S. civics lesson with their new animated series We The People.
Executive-produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, Kenya Barris and Chris Nee, the 10-episode animated music series, which has been compared to Schoolhouse Rock!, is designed to educate young Americans about their rights as citizens. Nee tells ABC Audio that the first episode, “Active Citizenship” was actually President Obama’s idea.
“President Obama came up with [it] on his own [because] he thought [it] was an important separated topic,” she says. “And the rest of it [laid] out what would be the basics and a curriculum.”
Sung by Grammy-winner H.E.R., the first We The People episode also features Biden inauguration poet Amanda Gorman, whom Nee says “takes [viewers] into the future” with her words. “Active Citizenship” director Peter Ramsey agrees, noting that H.E.R.’s lyrics also served as a “big inspiration” for the episode.
“H.E.R.’s line, ‘If I’m just one person, will my voice even stand out?,’ put her finger on an emotion that anyone can feel,” Ramsey explains. “Most people have asked that question in their daily lives. So taking that and saying, ‘Well, yeah, how can you make your voice stand out? What can you do? And then what can happen as a result?’ That was kind of the spirit of what we wanted to get across.”
As for H.E.R., she says joining the project spearheaded by the Obamas was an easy decision to make, considering it was “in line with what [she does]…in music.”
“Which is tell the truth and make people feel something through music and give people perspective,” H.E.R. says. “So I was so excited to be a part of it.”
We The People drops July 4.
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