Police brutality is an ongoing problem for African Americans in the U.S.
It’s become so common of an issue that when we see the face of another teen or adult that has succumb to unjustified police brutality, all we can do is shake our heads in disdain. We even utter small curses to the country we live in about the blatant lack of care shown to us.
Due to our current real-life circumstances, I didn’t make it a priority to go see the movie The Hate U Give, which is based off a 2017 novel by Angie Thomas about police brutality and social injustice when it comes to African-Americans.
Like many of my peers, I didn’t read the book, which made the drive to see this movie even more nonexistent. However, thanks to my journalism class, I made it a priority because the movie dealt with a problem that’s common in our community.
I had low expectations about the movie being impactful and well directed, despite the glistening reviews it was given from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.
I already had a grudge with the movie due to the casting of Amandla Stenberg as the main character Starr. She is not as dark skinned as Starr is portrayed on book covers, nor does she rock her natural hair, which is an aspect that would have made the movie even more impactful. So, going into the theatre, I was already skeptical of the film’s authenticity.
The movie is set in a fictional, poor black neighborhood, Garden Heights. Starr Carter, who is 16 and has been a resident of this neighborhood since she was born, lives in a house accompanied by her step brother Steven (Lamar Johnson), her little brother Sekani (TJ Wright), her mother Lisa (Regina Hall) and her father Maverick (Russell Hornsby). Starr’s father used to be member of the gang that ran the neighborhood, the King Lords, until he exchanged spending time in jail for freedom. The story follows Starr and her two different lives, one in her neighborhood and the other at her predominantly white school Williamson.
Though I had major doubts about this movie in the beginning, 10 minutes into the film, my mind was completely flipped. The Hate U Give focuses on the retold plot of a African American boy Khalil (played by Algee Smith) who is pulled over by the police and shot for pulling a hair brush out of his car which is thought to be a gun.
Starr, his best friend, is with Khalil that night and is forced to live with the events thereafter. She struggles with the death of her friend, the struggle of trying to be both a “white school attendant” and “hood” versions of herself, and the realization that her people are treated differently. Without giving next to anything away, this is a movie I HIGHLY recommend everyone sees.
Much like the life and music that inspired Thomas to write the book -- Tupac Shakur’s THUG LIFE -- The Hate U Give is eye opening, thrilling, and an emotional tear jerker that requires attention from all ages.