By Rayiah Ross
The Hate U Give, a movie based off of the novel by Angie Thomas, is taking over theaters everywhere. The 2017 best-selling novel about a black teenager who experiences racial inequality firsthand, pulls at the heartstrings of all audience members, no matter their race. The movie revolves around teenager, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who lives with her parents and two brothers in the slum neighborhood of Garden Heights. Garden Heights’ local high school is “where you go to get drunk, high, pregnant or killed”, so the children attend an elite, and predominately white, private school instead. Starr is careful to separate her life at home from her life at school. “Starr version two,” she would call herself as she shed her oversized hoodie and flattened her school uniform against her skin, is non-confrontational and close-mouthed so that she can stray away from the possible ‘angry black girl’ stereotypes.
Early on in the film, Starr’s father, Maverick (Russell Hornsby), delivers “the talk,” the explanation of how to negotiate an encounter with the police and how to navigate a predominantly white world. This moment, along with many that follow, shows the relevancy of not only these types of conversions, but also the relevancy of the movie as a whole. Simply put by Collider, “The Hate U Give doesn’t attempt to encapsulate the “black experience” in one individual, or even one family. Instead, in telling the coming-of-age story of a young black teenager against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter, white privilege, gang wars, and the drug trade—and all the complexities that comes with each issue—The Hate U Give offers a diverse view of what it’s like to grow up black in America.”
Rapper, Tupac Shakur, once wrote the acronym “T.H.U.G L.I.F.E” meaning “The hate you give little infants f*** everyone.” Angie Thomas and Director George Tillman Jr. take this idea that what you give children when their young will blow up in your face as they get older, and they created a beautiful and heartbreaking showcase of what it truly means to be black in America. “Pac’s gonna always be relevant,” Khalil (Algee Smith), Starr’s childhood friend insisted in the film. Only moments later, Khalil would be dead, shot by a jittery white police officer who pulls them over and mistakes his hairbrush for a gun. This movie, one with fictional characters and made up neighborhoods, is real. We have all heard of stories like this. We’ve seen them on the news and we’ve seen it for ourselves. Do yourself a favor and watch the beautiful film, because being ‘woke’ is more than just knowing what’s going on in the community, its understanding it and wanting change.