When asked what author Angie Thomas wanted readers of her New York Times bestselling novel “The Hate U Give” to understand after reading her work, her reply was simple: “Empathy is more powerful than sympathy.”
N.C. Central students had the privilege of participating in a movie screening Oct 3, eight days before the actual movie premiere date. The event was organized through Bazan Entertainment Marketing Inc and the Student Activities Board. The board wanted students to have more opportunities and an excellent collegiate experience on campus.
‘The Hate U Give’ does not recoil away from the reality of black presence in America. The movie reminds viewers of the racialized police brutality, black on black violence in urban communities, and the apathetic attitude of privileged whites. The characters written by Angie Thomas are all unique and they represent real people. It explores and reveals the depth of systematic oppression. While watching the film, you might see yourself in one of the characters or remind you of a friend or relative.
WARNING: spoilers are below.
Starr (Amanda Stenberg) heavily reminiscing on the time she was introduced to systematic oppression. When she received ‘The Talk’ a discussion majority of African-American kids can relate to she was only nine years old. Her father, Maverick (Russell Hornsby) was teaching his children about how to survive and find their way through a ‘White America’. Maverick speaks on how her and her two brothers, Seven (Lamar Johnson ) and Sekani (TJ Wright ) should act and respond when pulled over by the police.
“Don’t you ever forget that being black is an honor because we come from greatness,” said Maverick, instilling black excellence into his children. Maverick is the embodiment of not just an exceptional father, but an indestructible and secure man in the home. He is the light in the family, especially in Starr’s life and helping her on the path to find her voice against violence and abused power.
Angie Thomas gave the character, Maverick a strong presence in his children’s lives. Despite, the years he was locked up, he came back into his family’s lives more developed and matured. Thomas attacks one of the biggest narratives that has ruined a black man’s image: black fathers aren’t involved in their children’s lives.
Starr Carter is a sixteen-year-old girl who enjoys Air Jordan’s and 90’s TV shows like Fresh Prince of Bel Air and music made by TLC. She is stuck between two worlds and internally fighting a battle to find her identity. In one world she lives a primarily black community in Garden Heights, the high school there is to either “jump, high or pregnant.” However, Starr and her siblings attends Williamson Prep, a private school with predominately white students. Starr is constantly battling to keep these two worlds apart. However, all of that is about to change due to the recent murder of closet childhood friend, Khalil. It will change Starr’s life, her identity and her voice forever.
Starr is a direct witness of two of her childhood friend’s murders. When she was 10 years old she witnessed her friend, Natasha killed by a stray drive by bullet. The bullets were owned by a powerful gang in the community called the king pins. Starr never found the voice to speak out against the criminal injustice against her friend Natasha. She feared the King Lords would do the same if she told the truth about who killed Natasha.
George Tillman Junior, the director of the film took on the challenge to make Angie Thomas book so confrontational, he not only focuses on the systematic prejudice. He brings life to how the black community turns on itself. When the community should be uplifting and surviving with one another.
Starr’s second witness of a murder is a means to an end to show how the film reflects the violence in urban low-class neighborhoods.
While in the car with her crush and childhood friend Khalil they are pulled over for failing to signal a lane change after leaving a block party. When Khalil was asked to step out of the car he did not realize the gravity of the situation. It was obvious that Khalil did not receive the same passive ‘talk’ , Starr did as a child. Khalil did not grow up with a father figure and his mother was a crackhead. He reached into the car to grab his hairbrush with the pleading Starr inside. Simultaneously, he was shot three times. The police officer (Drew Starkey) assume that hairbrush was a gun. Instead, of asking for Khalil to put his hands up or get down on the ground, the officer watched Khalil bleed out to death in the street.
“A hair brush is not a gun,” said Starr in the film. Khalil being shot and killed by the hands of an officer is the key plot in the movie. Everything that happens after has turned into a massive domino effect. The gun is the film represents violence, and power, relating to how power is overly abused and violence will never be a solution.
This scene in the movie is extremely relatable to reality of the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and many more lives.
Khalid‘s death and start finding the will to speak out against injustice is the driving force in this film. It would leave you feeling like a bottle of all emotions in one. It is a masterpiece, full of inspirations and a song calling out to the human spirit.