“Pac said Thug Life Stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the a*s when we wild out. Get it?” – Khalil
Based on Angie Thomas’ debut novel director George Tillman Jr.’s The Hate U Give is a must watch for people of all ages. This movie tackles the issues of racism, police violence, and the experience of African Americans living in undeserved inner-city neighborhoods around the United States. The main character Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) was faced with switching between two identities: Starr who’s born and raised in an impoverished Black neighborhood and Starr who goes to a predominately white prep school. Throughout the film, Starr is constantly toggling back and forth between these worlds.
Around her black friends she’s seen as not black enough but, around her white friends, she doesn’t want to be perceived as angry or too aggressive. The movie begins with Starr’s father Maverick Carter (Russell Hornsby) giving his young children “the talk.” For those of you who may not be familiar with what I mean by “the talk” it’s a talk, most African American parents have with their children to prepare them for interactions with law enforcement. This talk is a pivotal moment in the movie that later comes back up when Starr encounters the police with her friend Khalil.
The film fast forwards and now Starr’s a high school student in a predominately White private school because her neighborhood school was under performing. Her mother Lisa Carter (Regina Hall), wanted her daughter to have the best education as she did. In this part of the film, you can see Starr struggling with the duality of two worlds and how to navigate within these two spaces. While attending a neighborhood party, Starr runs into an old friend/love interest Khalil (Algee Smith) who she hasn’t seen in years. The party ends abruptly, and Starr and Khalil flee the chaos so he can drive Starr home. Unfortunately, on that ride to Starr’s house, Khalil is pulled over and fatally shot at the hands of a police officer. Starr is now faced with finding her voice and standing up for what’s right. She’s left with deciding if she’s just going to be silent or if she will become the voice for her deceased friend, who the media is now trying to paint in a bad light.
The film provides an in-depth look at our current reality as African Americans in this country. Often times we are faced with living in two separate worlds in an effort to fit into other people’s ideas and perception of who/what we should be. Navigating trauma, finding your voice, and learning to be unapologetically yourself are my takeaways from the film. I hope you all will take the time out to go see this film, you won’t be disappointed.
Check out the official trailer below.