Carter, 16, was adopted by two African American gay men when he was 10. As the oldest of eight children, he was bounced around in foster care for several years. Carter is finishing up his last year of high school and is balancing his class studies, sports, and family life while trying to figure out his future. He was just made captain of his football team and is an honors student.
Ansheera, "Ace," 17, is a self-identified gender queer youth who struggles to maintain relationships with members of zer family who do not understand and are not supportive of zer gender identity. Ze has found an outlet by becoming socially engaged in several non-profits in Chicago. Ze feels ze can go to the adult organizers in these agencies and just be zirself with out any pressure. Ze has received a full academic scholarship to a Midwestern university.
*Ze, zir and zirs are gender neutral pronouns. At the time of filming Woke Up Black, Ace did not yet use these pronouns, which is why you will hear "she/her/hers" in the voiceover.
Morgan, 19, lives in a western suburb of Chicago and is in her second year of college at an out of state university. She has an interest in biomedical engineering. Her father works in corporate America and her mother is a successful real estate agent. While being raised to be a strong Black woman by her parents, she has lived the majority of her life in situations where she is the only African American or one of a few.
Rosalee, 18, is a recent graduate of Lakeview High School, and is starting her first year of college at an in state university. Rosalee is the first person in her family to attend college. She and her brothers and sisters were adopted by her aunt and uncle twelve years ago when her mother was unable to care for them. Rosalee struggles with life away from her family and with the college experience.
Sheldon, 20, is currently an organizer at a south side community organization. He was formerly incarcerated (at 17 years old) for his role in a felony crime. He is actively working to get his record expunged. After completing his time in jail, he graduated from high school, is attending college part-time, and is parenting his young daughter.