I expected this movie adaptation of Angela Thomas’ book of the same name to be exactly what it was—-racially tensed and enlightening. While many people are aware of a few victims involved in police altercations that led to their deaths by police officers such as Trayvon Martin, Botham Shem Jean, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Laquan McDonald, what I noticed about this movie are the “other” victims. I specifically mean those present when the victims are killed by the police officers. When 16-year-old Starr’s childhood best friend, Khalil, gets shot and killed by a police officer during a out-of-the-blue traffic stop, she becomes a victim in her our mind, her school, and her community as she finds her voice to speak up for what’s right.
Let’s start with the title, The Hate U Give. The first letter of the title spells THUG. Why is that important?
Remember the late famous hip hop rapper Tupac Shakur and his large abdominal tattoo saying “Thug Life”? There are several references to Tupac that define the plot development of this movie, that the director purposely includes. Tupac’s tattoo was an acronym standing for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fu$%s Everyone.’
Other Tupac similarities include Maverick ordering the kids to learn the Black Panther Ten-Point Program — which recalls how Tupac explained one time in an interview that he was a militant, and his definition of thug came from his street side and his Panther side (his mom’s activism with the political Black Panther Party).
Another not so obvious reference was that the car (the neighborhood drug dealer leader) King drives is a black BMW 7 Series sedan with chrome and custom rims. On the night of Tupac’s murder, he was riding in a black 1996 BMW 7 Series sedan with chrome, custom rims.
I think that people will assume that this is just a typical black movie with commonly known stereotypes about blacks, but I think you should also view it from a different perspective, and pay attention to scenes that remind you of the patterns you see during a few of the real-life police shootings.
For instance, when Khalil was pulled over by the police, he responded to the officer by saying things like “Why are you pulling me over?” “Why turn my music down? I can hear you” and “I have rights.” This scene reminded me of the aforementioned Sandra Bland who made similar comments during her police stop, and was then arrested because she refused to put out her cigarette.
This movie right out the gate made me smile as it portrayed something very common, or uncommon, in black households, and that is the family eating dinner together and having deep life conversations. The not so common part is that not all black families have a mom AND a dad present. One other thing I’ll mention that I loved about the film — is the role played by hip-hop rapper Common, as Starr’s uncle, who is also a police officer in the same department as the officer that killed Khalil.
Towards the end of the movie, Starr draws an important distinction out of her uncle, and that is the action taken by police officers when they stop a black guy, versus when they stop a well-dressed white guy. Uncle Carlos admits that his behavior and reactions ARE different and racially biased, even as a black police officer. EPIC scene!!!!!
Let me speak to how Starr’s victim role was so robust. This was not Starr’s first experience with a BFF being killed; this is her second experience, and all before the age of 16. Starr lived two lives as she eloquently states it: Garden Heights Starr Version 1, and Williamson High School Starr Version 2. She had to bounce between the hood and the upper class private school she attended. Those scenes with her black friends and then her white friends, including Starr’s white boyfriend, was very well written and portrayed, and will be very familiar to many of your lives.
I’ll point out somewhat of a spoiler. Don’t miss the very climactic hairbrush scene between Starr and her Williamson High good friend Hailey. It gives you a glimpse of how some white people really think, but just don’t say it to black people out loud like Hailey did. Pray church! It got ugly. LOL
On another note, Starr bounced between two life roles that silenced her for many reasons. It’s so ironic, because 19-year-old Amandla Stenberg herself played similar roles in real life. She struggled with not being black enough (her father is Danish), and bounced between being straight and bi-sexual for a few years before finally embracing her designated sexuality (lesbian), and breaking her silence thereof. I think it’s so rhythmic, using “her voice” to make an impact onscreen, as well as off-screen.
Watch this movie without your “backpack” of pre-judgments of what you think you already know. Stay Open-minded. Be Empowered. Stay Woke.
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About The Peetimes: It was a little difficult getting Peetimes, because each one contains a little dialogue or dramatized scene that may appeal to somebody. However, these are 2 good Peetimes, both lasting 3 minutes. The 1st has an Alert flagged on it for people who might feel triggered by funerals/death. . .
There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Hate U Give. (What we mean by Anything Extra)
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