The Outlook

The Hate U Give Gets Audiences Thinking

Daja Dansby, Editor

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Following in the footsteps of its fellow young adult novels, The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas sets itself apart from the rest in its riveting depiction of the struggles that come along with being a black youth. The film, released in early October, will go down in history as having struck a chord with people everywhere.

Admittedly, before its release, the film seemed rather unappealing. Larger scale movies that have tried to address black issues often times come off as preachy or are simply done in poor taste. This fact, on top of seeing Amandla Stenberg as the lead role put a sour taste in my mouth. Before the Hate U Give, Stenberg was known primarily for her performances in The Hunger Games, Everything, Everything and the Darkest Minds, all young adult book-to-movie adaptations with cult followings. These films, like their predecessors, are simply cash grabs, with nothing to be remembered or pondered. Stenberg managed to break away from the dystopian teen-romance image that engulfed her acting career in her portrayal of Starr Carter, the main character in The Hate U Give.

The film follows Starr who attempts to navigate between two lives in the midst of well-recognized racial tension. We learn that from a young age, the Carter children have been prepared to face the worst. The first image we see is a flashback of her dad Maverick Carter (Russell Hornsby) teaching Starr and her brother Seven (Lamar Johnson) the proper way to handle being pulled over, a sentiment that would return when Starr gets pulled over while riding with her childhood friend Khalil. The two both go through the motions of putting their hands on the dash and complying with the officer, but this proved to not be enough when despite all of this Khalil is shot in cold blood over a few comments and a hairbrush mistaken for a gun.

One of the most telling scenes in the movie is the officer’s reaction when he realized that he made a mistake. Watching the realization play out across his face was heart-sinking. We often think about what goes through their minds when they shoot and kill the unarmed and we formulate an image of an action carried out by malice and hate. Though this is undeniably the case at times, there is also another, more troubling side: the side of the fearful officer. The officer, with suppressed fear of a race who’s denied and unacknowledged racism, will ultimately result in more instances like that of Khalil’s.

The issue of suppressed racism made an appearance multiple times throughout the story. From Starr’s best friend’s response to Khalil’s death to her uncle’s confession to racist practices in his work place, The Hate U Give does an incredible job with topics we should all be addressing now. Though the conversations seem rather forced at times, we are still able to see a very prominent side of the issue of racism without it being criminalized.

In addition to all the conversations that the movie starts, the cast of the film will undoubtedly aid in its success. Big names among the younger generation including Sabrina Carpenter, KJ Apa and Stenberg having important roles in the film will attract their demographics to this movie. The Hate U Give is probably something most of these kids and teens won’t think to see. Their favorite actors and actresses bringing them to theatres will help them start these important conversations. Audiences in general will be left with a lot to ponder afterward, many will leave having discovered something new about themselves. Whether that thing is good or bad is something that must be determined by the individual; either way, this story is one that must be seen.

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The Hate U Give Gets Audiences Thinking