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Drawing on the vast traditions of storytelling, Oba William King celebrates African American heritage and diversity in his ebullient interactive performances.

Not only does this Chicago griot help younger audiences develop critical and social skills through his stories. He's also gifted at another, more difficult task: entertaining listeners.

Mixing the movement of theater, the rhythm of music and the charm of narrative with a healthy dose of social work, King captivates his audience. King's skill at sharing his passion for poetry was recognized in 2002 when he received the Gwendolyn Brooks Hands on Stanza Award for his workshops in Chicago's public schools.

King's outreach programs extend beyond the spoken word. Through writing workshops and reading sessions with families, King encourages growth and education across all generations.

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Illinois has a wealth of storytellers to keep you entertained all year round. Check out some of these modern day bards: Maggie Brown, Linda Gorham, Jim May, Momma Kemba and Shanta.

Or if you prefer that the storytellers to come to you, there are always storytelling festivals to be found, like the Illinois Storytelling Festival in Spring Grove and the Chinquapin Folk Music and Storytelling Festival in Peoria.

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Watch as Oba William King performs part of his story "Basketball Jones."


Related Podcasts

Child/Youth Podcast

Storytelling Podcast


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Oba William King during a captivating performance.

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King gives a special Kwanzaa performance for an excited audience.

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Beyond the fun of it all, King brings important lessons to his young listeners.


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