Guest Blogger: Addressing the Issues in the film, “The Hate U Give”.
Quashaun Logan-Wilkins is a senior attending the University of Central Missouri studying Digital Media Production with a minor in Sports Communication. He love to play sports, play video games, hang out with friends and write poems. He will be graduating in Summer of 2019 with his Bachelor’s degree.
In the film, “The Hate U Give” directed by George Tillman Jr, we get to explore the issues of racism and social injustice in America such as police brutality, the drug trade, gang violence and the Black Lives Matter movement. Based off the novel by Angie Thomas, who is New York Times best-selling author, the title was influenced by rapper Tupac Shakur, a East Harlem native. Shakur is credited with his saying “Thug Life” which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Messes With Everybody,” in which he addresses the systemic racism and oppression.
We meet the main character, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is an African-American teenage girl that struggles with racial identity and tensions throughout the film. She lives with her father, Mavrick, her mother, Lisa, her half brother, Seven, and her biological little brother Sekani. As we follow Starr throughout her teenager years, she is faced with addressing both coming-of-age and current racial issues in which becomes a challenge for her to embrace who she is and balancing her two worlds. Starr tries to separate her home life from her school life. She lives in Garden Heights which is a Black neighborhood that struggles with poverty and violence while attending Williamson Prep which is the wealthy, pro-dominantly Caucasian school.
The film itself balances the portrayal of social and racial issues with the family’s loving, playful relationship. Light-hearted jokes that are made throughout the movie bring humor to the dark and heavy situations that are faced in today’s society. Jokes such as in the film when an argument between Seven and Starr’s white boyfriend, Chris, over whether or not mac and cheese would be considered a meal or a side dish. This would be consider how differently races or cultures are from each other. Moments like this add to the genuineness and honesty of the film.
During the film, one night Starr reconnects with a childhood friend Khalil Harris at a party. After the party which led to a heap of violence, the two flee together in Khalil’s car. On their way home, the pair suddenly get pulled over by the police and Khalil, an unarmed black teen, is fatally shot by a white police officer.
After the death of her once childhood friend, Starr has difficulty on deciding to speak out about the situation, due to her being afraid for her safety and jeopardizing her reputation at school. As she learns how to deal and cope with the tragedy, she also learns how to use her voice as a way to help her community.
Instead of making the individual police officers the antagonist of this film, “The Hate U Give” draws the audience attention to the problems within the law enforcement system as a whole. Starr’s uncle Carlos is a cop and tries to provide a police officer’s perspective on the situation with Khalil. But during one of the protests in the film, Starr says that the problem itself lies within the societies inability to listen to African-American people. Even when Starr talks to Chris telling him that ” Who says he doesn’t see color– if he doesn’t see her blackness, he doesn’t see her”. This was a powerful quote from the film.
Overall this was a great film and I would suggest to anyone to take look at this on the big screen. It does a great representation of exploring such issues that are faced in today’s society in America and can bring a visual aspect to few.