“The Hate U Give” has powerful message of race and identity


Photo courtesy of angiethomas.com

Hannah Frank

“The Hate U Give,” directed by George Tillman Jr, is a new movie based on Angie Thomas’s novel of the same name. Released on October 5, the movie stars Amandla Stenberg as the main character, Starr. Starr grows up in a crime-ridden, majority black community called Garden Heights. In her neighborhood, she has one friend, Kenya, and lives with her dad, mom, and two brothers. Although much of Starr’s life is spent in Garden Heights, she attends a predominantly white private school due to her parents fear of what may result in having their kids go to the local public school. Starr feels that there are two versions of herself: a Garden Heights version where she embraces her community and culture, and a school version who feels uncomfortable and unsafe talking about any social or political issue. Although the story starts with Starr beginning to understand and accept both versions of herself, trauma soon arises and Starr’s life becomes chaos, and she finds it hard to feel safe anywhere.

The title of both the film and the book stem from the acronym “Thug Life”, made famous by Tupac, which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F***’s Everybody.” The title reflects the plot and many of the themes that are addressed in the film. The main event in the film is the aftermath of Starr being the only witness to her childhood friend, Khalil, being gunned down by a white police officer who believes that Khalil has a weapon. Throughout the movie, Starr tackles how to have a voice while maintaining a feeling of safety, both in her school and in her neighborhood, where she is being threatened by King Lord, a drug lord, and Khalil’s old boss.

“The Hate U Give” provides a powerful image for many current issues. It touches on themes of police brutality and being a minority, and especially on being a woman of color. The film gives a brutally honest portrayal of how police brutality affects communities of color. However, the movie also touches on issues of gangs and drugs, particularly within Black communities.

“The Hate U Give” is a movie worth your time. It is nothing less than a remarkably breathtaking film, and it paints a refreshing and heartbreaking picture of a young woman of color in the 21st century.