“The Hate U Give” illustrates the reality behind police brutality


Giacomo Cascella, Staff Writer

Best-selling novel “The Hate U Give,” authored by Angie Thomas, projects African-American teenager Starr Carter’s insightful experience with police brutality onto the big screen.

“The Hate U Give” is a bold look at institutionalized racism, from the perspective of America’s black youth. The movie comments on a broader American conversation about race including: police shootings of young, unarmed black men, an asymmetrical justice system and organized gang violence.

The film follows Starr, played by Amandla Stenberg, who defines herself as a native of the projects in Garden Heights, but finds herself spending time disguising her true identity among white students at Williamson Prep School. She must confront the bitter reality of police brutality head on when her friend is murdered.

Immediately, the audience is able to relate with the film’s modern soundtrack. The soundtrack features certified ‘bangers’ like DNA, Ghost Face Killers and Goosebumps from popular artists such as Kendrick Lamar, 21 Savage and Travis Scott, that the younger target audience can relate with. The soundtrack also includes methodical ‘vibes’ like Only God Can Judge me and Keep Ya Head Up from late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur. The song selection is able to host a bundle of emotions, while striking the perfect balance between a coming-of-age plot, and a social justice message.

The film’s impressive ensemble cast earnestly captures the moments of love and hate, levity and dread that emerge from its complicated storyline. Stenberg carries the film on her shoulders, and her transformation is potent and impressive. Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall deliver striking performances as her parents, who emphasize the vitality of respect. Their performances contribute to deliver the message of the dichotomy between white and black America.

Breaks in the action allow the audience to relax and focus on the other important aspect of the movie—humor. The movie skillfully weaves a number of genuinely laugh-out-loud scenes into its serious plot line—Chris trying to discern whether mac and cheese is a side dish or main entrée—reminding the audience to laugh.

It is easy for one to roll

their eyes at earnest motion pictures with clearly labeled messages. And sometimes these types of films overplay their hands, and fall into the realm of camp. But “The Hate U Give” is certainly not one of those films. These conversations often make us squirm – after all, when is it easy to talk about racial prejudice and biases? But this film’s message is too crucial to overlook –we must start thinking about how to confront one of America’s most controversial issues, the pursuit of racial justice.