On Thursday evening at Soho’s quirky and glamorous Crosby Street Hotel, Vanity Fair and Starz previewed a docuseries centered on Miami’s Liberty City Neighborhood.
The series is executive produced by Lebron James and Maverick Carter’s Springhill Media as well as Luther Campbell, and is directed by Evan Rosenfeld, who also directed ESPN’s The U 30 for 30 documentary about the University of Miami in the 1980’s and 90’s. Warriors not only tells a story about youth football, but it also tells a story about the Liberty City neighborhood. Not unlike other inner city areas, Liberty City is infamous for it’s gang activity, drugs, gun violence and murder rate. This series aims to break down the stereotypes of “black” neighborhoods, absentee fathers, and the biggest misconception all, that people in these communities don’t have the same dreams and desires that the rest of us do.
You might be asking yourself what makes this team so special? One of the answers: Miami produces more NFL players than anywhere else in the World and since the founding of the team, the Liberty City Warriors have produced NFL stars such as Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Antonio Brown, Teddy Bridgewater, Devonte Freeman, and Duke Johnson.
While the NFL stars do give the program notoriety, what truly makes the team special is the parents and volunteers in the community that rally around these children in the attempt to give them a better life. The coaches and teachers don’t receive a salary, but they are still more than willing to give their time to what has become much bigger than a football team. The Warriors are now a full program that includes basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, tutoring services, and most of all a sense of community.
The first episode of the series was powerful, emotional, and thought-provoking and was followed by a panel featuring Luke himself, Rosenfeld, and Springhill President Jamal Henderson. Their discussion included the stories of fatherhood and mentorship found in the series, how sports keeps kids off the streets, and a call to action for the audience to give not just money, but time and opportunities to similar children. At a time when football is under siege, Luke spelled it out best by saying “People only talk about concussions or the Colin Kaepernick situation, but football is actually saving lives in communities like this all across the country”.
Tune into to Starz this Sunday night (9/16) at 9pm for the series premiere of Warriors of Liberty City to see this amazing story for yourself and check out the trailer below.