Common, Dwyane Wade, 9th Wonder and Grant Hill Join Documentary About First Black High School Rowing Team in the United States

The rapper Common, the producer 9th Wonder, and former NBA players Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade are involved with a documentary called “A Most Beautiful Thing,” based on the first black high school rowing team in the United States.

All four men are wearing executive producer hats for the Mary Mazzio-directed project, and Common is the narrator.

(From left) Common, Dwyane Wade, 9th Wonder, and Grant Hill are executive producers of a documentary about the first black high school rowing team in the U.S. (Photos: SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images via Getty Images, Noam Galai/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images, Paras Griffin/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images, John McCoy/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images)

The rowing team first came together when they were students at Manley Career Academy High School on the West Side of Chicago, and many rowed together after being in rival gangs.

Ken Alpart and Michael O’Gorman, who used to be crew team members, introduced the sport to the students in 1997 with an interest in bringing it to inner-city youth.

The doc is based off the memoir “Suga Water,” written by Arshay Cooper, who was the captain of that first Black rowing team.

“When we were on the water, we were in a place where we could not hear the sound of sirens or bullets, and that allowed us to shape a different vision for ourselves, of who and what we could become,” explained Cooper, according to BET. “And that was a beautiful thing.”

Some of the original team members have also reunited for one last race after one of their coaches passed away, which will also be a part of the doc.

“Malcolm is doing this to show his son another way,” said Common in the trailer. “Preston is going back in time to undo his mistakes, Alvin is racing to celebrate the fact that he’s still alive, that he’s still here.”

With their big race the men also hope to inspire the current generation of kids to take up rowing.

“A Most Beautiful Thing” will premiere at South by Southwest Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas, which runs March 13-22.

It’ll then hit theaters in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Oakland, Miami, Los Angeles and New York on March 27.

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